This weekend, my husband and I enjoyed Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in Ashland, OR. It was phenomenal, and it got me thinking about the value of art & culture in education and human development.
I found an interesting summary of research* comparing childhood exposure to arts and its effect into adulthood.
Looking at the research, I was not surprised that there were clear inequalities in terms of access. There have been some measures taken to reduce this divide (although I am sure the debate can continue) and I think it is important to continue the dialogue about access and providing as equal of opportunities as possible.
Working with at-risk youth, especially in programs with limited budgets, I have often assumed that theater was too expensive and unattainable for my students. But I quickly learned that that is not necessarily true.
With the right information, it is possible and can be affordable to engage children in theater, classical music, and other forms of performing arts.
- Go Classical PDX is a program that is set to go through July 2011. This program offers $5 tickets to anyone with an Oregon Trail Card for Oregon Ballet Theater, Oregon Symphony, The Portland Opera and many other cultural venues. For the complete list, visit here. This is a pilot project, so it may or may not be extended after July 2011.
- Portland Center Stage offers many incentives for young people to get involved in theater. They offer discounted season subscriptions for anyone under 30, and free workshops and tickets for title I schools and social service agencies.
- The Portland Art Museum always offers free admission to children 17 and under, and has special activities families can participate in on Sundays.
Do you know of any other opportunities for students, teachers and/or families to access arts & culture? Please share!
*The research is primarily based in countries other than America (although, I believe the results are applicable). If you're interested in getting a better feel of what American's opinion of the arts is, the Institute for Innovation in Social Policy did some thorough research - their report is available to read here.