Topic: Fundamentals

Several thousand nonprofit community-based organizations and government agencies in the United States provide professionally led direct instruction in the arts to people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities—from early childhood through adulthood, in cities and rural areas, for novices and experienced students. Lifelong arts learning can begin when a four-year-old takes a basic movement class and continue with a 10-year-old who studies the cello; a teenager who experiments with mixed-media artwork; an adult who takes up digital photography in mid-life; or an 80-year-old who performs in a theater group at the local senior center.

These arts learning opportunities are offered in many different settings, including neighborhood music schools, arts centers, education divisions of universities, theater companies, dance studios, and museums.

  • Young people perform with youth orchestras, choruses, and theater ensembles.
  • Older adults participate in life-enhancing arts programs in senior centers, retirement communities, and nursing homes.
  • Local parks and recreation departments offer summer camps and after-school arts programs.
  • Music conservatories have community divisions that spark the enthusiasm of students of all ages through lessons, classes, and programs.

Community arts education providers across the country enrich communities, promote lifelong participation in the arts, and help develop the artists and audiences of the future.

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Community Arts Education Issues, Benefits, and Research

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.