Link to the PND (Philanthropy News Digest) article.
I received the report from the Wallace Foundation in my inbox, but it took this article to prompt me to finally open the report and have a look. The summary points out the increasing use of technology to fill the void of arts due to budget cuts to arts education in schools. It sites some examples of how we can embrace this trend and use the available technology to champion new arts education efforts. It also states how to categorize and evaluate young people according to their level of interest in the arts to cater programs specifically for them.
I guess in one sense, the individual attention to arts learners could be a good addition, but I have mixed feelings about this direction. It almost has the feel of, “If you can’t beat it, join it.” I realize that our world is changing rapidly, and we are quickly becoming a Do It Yourself society. You don’t even have to step outside to go to school anymore if you rather learn at your own pace online.
How are these changes going to affect the arts?
As I have mentioned before, the younger generations crave the hands-on experiences. They are bored to death otherwise. These new technologies give them the outlets to do so. They are learning how to create online or using apps with their friends. For example, my step-daughter is enjoying writing stories with one of her friends online using an application that allows them to go back and forth in their writing. They are creating whole-heartedly, self driven to create.
Of course we want to encourage this self driven interest in the arts, however, what does this say for supporting the arts that require you to watch other people create? Yes, we can include some engagement programs to go with the performances, and this will change our presentations considerably. It’s already happening!
For someone who is from the generation in the middle of all this, GenX, I can feel how uncomfortable it is to go through this shift. I embrace the new technologies with the gifts of do it yourself creating, yet if this is all the arts will become, it is going to be quite noisy with individuals clamoring for attention, and our audiences will become small little niche markets even beyond where they are now.
I’m glad they finally did a report on this subject. I invite you to add your thoughts to explore where we are going and how does it make you feel to be in this transition.