Performing Arts Education Overview released today

Creative Trust and PAONE (the Professional Arts Organizations Network for Education) released the  Performing Arts Education Overview  today, at Theatre Direct’s Wychwood Theatre.

Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan introduced this first time study, generously supported by his Ministry, of the scope of arts education activities by 50 music, theatre, dance and opera organizations in Toronto and area.

Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies Research  presented the on-line survey’s highlights. These underlined the extent to which these companies have taken up the challenge of ensuring that young people in Toronto experience the arts.

  • Collectively the arts organizations surveyed spent about $12 million on arts education last year, reaching over half a million participants.
  • The link between experiencing the arts while young and maintaining a life-long interest was reaffirmed;  92% of survey respondents chose “building audiences for future” as the major goal of these activities, followed at 88% by “ensuring exposure to the arts.”
  • Almost as important was the goal of “community building” (chosen by 74% of companies surveyed) – an indication that many arts organizations are engaging in educational activities as a way of contributing to their communities.

Our purpose with the PAEO was to understand the range, reach and impact of arts education programs by performing arts companies, a (necessary) first step in building successful long-range arts awareness, community engagement and audience development. The report fills previous gaps in knowledge on the types of programs being offered; where they are taking place; who they are benefiting, and who are not being reached. It provides important information which funders and organizations like Creative Trust and PAONE can use to  help companies develop the best possible programs.

The report’s conclusions call for the arts community to improve their arts education activities by collaborating, sharing, communicating and networking.  A series of roundtable discussions and workshops, beginning in January, will kick-start this process. Look for more information on these in our next e-newsletter.

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