It’s always exciting to start a journey of discovery. Creative Trust and PAONE (the Professional Arts Organizations Network for Education) are doing just that with the launch November 2 of the Performing Arts Education Overview online survey. Interviews with companies and stakeholders begin now through the end of December.
Our purpose with the PAEO is to study the range, reach and impact of arts education programs by performing arts companies in Toronto and the GTA. Many months in the planning, the project aims to fill a large gap in knowledge and information on the extent and methods by which professional music, theatre and dance companies contribute to educating young people in and about the arts.
Some of the anticipated results include: an understanding of the types of programs being offered; where they are taking place; who they are benefiting and who are not being reached; and – the big question – what impact are these programs having on young people and our schools and communities?
Amazingly, this is a first crack at finding the answers to these key questions.
The Minister of Culture and Communications, the Hon. Michael Chan, whose generous support is making this investigation possible, is only one of the many decision-makers eagerly looking forward to our findings.
We hope that the PAEO will give everyone involved in providing or supporting arts education a better understanding of the contributions of the many performing arts companies in the field. We also hope it will point the way to best practices (i.e., who’s doing the work with the greatest impact), and provide information which funders and organizations like Creative Trust and PAONE can use to help companies develop the best possible programs and activities.
An ambitious project, but ultimately it is only a (necessary) first step in building successful long-range arts awareness, community engagement and audience development.
We would love to hear from anyone whose experiences with or thinking about arts education will help enrich our work on the Performing Arts Education Overview. Please share.