This summary of two Wallace-commissioned studies, both conducted by the RAND Corporation, examines efforts to rebuild arts learning for children in urban areas. According to Cultivating Demand for the Arts: Arts Learning, Arts Engagement and State Arts Policy, individuals who experience and learn about the arts at a young age are likelier to reap the benefits of the arts over their lifetimes. Unfortunately, as arts learning opportunities have dwindled over the last 30 years, both in school and outside, so has demand for the arts. Increasing the quality of and access to arts learning opportunities, then, is proposed as a vital element in lifting long-term arts demand.
Revitalizing Arts Education Through Community-Wide Coordination explores new approaches to arts education involving the formation of networks across schools, arts organizations, community-based organiza¬tions, government agencies and funders. The report describes six cities or metro areas where such coordination is taking hold: Alameda County, Calif. (which includes Oakland and Berkeley); Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles County; and New York City. Features of the coordinated approaches typically include a set of shared goals and clear outcomes, a feasible plan based on data and progress benchmarks, and clear, consistent communication to sustain public support. While such efforts are vulnerable to policy and political changes, the report finds that many of the sites studied “appear to be making head¬way” in reversing the long-standing erosion of arts education.