Photo: Latino and Black youth attendance down at arts events
A new study out of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has revealed that black and Latino people have been deprived of an education in the arts since 1982, and as a result, the number of young adult Latino and black students who take advantage of art functions has dwindled.
Whether plays, musicals, art exhibits, dance or art museum events, the University of Chicago’s research team have found that black and Latino youth are not attending the art events as often s their white counterparts.
The researchers stated that a child’s arts education plays, “such a vital role by developing the potential audience, “ for the arts. They added that “ if these trends continue, the health of he arts ecosystem will be in jeopardy.”
On the other hand, an NEA study takes an opposing view and believes that the declining arts attendance over the last few years is a reflection of the failure in recruiting newer generations to follow in the footsteps of their baby boomer generation predecessors. The NEA study makes the suggestion that it is not a lack of interest, but instead the lack of arts events that are keeping the numbers low.
Both studies used information from U.S. Census Bureau surveys from 1982 to 2008. The most recent survey showed that 34.6% of Americans attended an arts event in 2008, with is down from 39.4% in 2002.
The Americano reported the following:
In 2008, 58% of whites ages 18 to 24 reported having taken at least one arts class during their life, a 2% drop from 1982. The drop was much bigger for the nation’s two largest minorities — from 51% to 26% for blacks, and from 47% to 28% for Latinos.
The newspaper added that the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who said they had attended at least one arts event (jazz, classical music, opera, musical or non-musical plays, dance or art museums) during the year before they were surveyed fell slightly for whites during the 26 years — from 44% to 42%. Attendance rates for nonwhites fell from 38% to 25%.
Among children of college graduates, 73% surveyed in 2008 had taken at least one arts class, down from 88% in 1982. For others — presumably less wealthy — arts education became a rarity, plunging from 70% to 34% for children of high school graduates, and from 54% to 13% if their parents lacked a diploma.