As a university advisory to about 50 student performing and visual arts groups, I see firsthand the impact extra-curricular programs and elective coursework in the arts make on student’s professional and personal development. The majority of the hundreds of students served through Platt Student Performing Arts House at The University of Pennsylvania will not pursue careers in the arts sector. However, it is this population of arts appreciators who will support local theater, participate in book clubs, donate to after school arts programs, and so forth after graduation. As a sector, we need to creatively engage the extra-curricular art lovers while they are young so as to ensure strong audiences in the future.
Institutions of higher education, arts and culture organizations, and all levels of government share the responsibility of engaging extra-curricular art lovers. Within the last year alone, Philadelphia has seen strong development in the quantity of organizations taking this responsibility seriously with quality programming. This recent uptick in engaging programming is a sign that organizations recognize the long-lasting value of building relationships between arts and culture communities and college students (regardless of whether or not their academic pursuits are arts-related). Read the rest of this entry »