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The Arts Aren't Just for Grown Ups

September 21, 2007

This country does a pretty good job, despite financial odds, of making creative opportunities available to children and teenagers. There are student orchestras and bands, theater clubs, storytelling and writing organizations, circus schools, museum field trips and many other ways for young people to get involved in the arts.

One thing that is missing though, is the sight of young people going to see professional productions of an evening after school. Sure, arts organizations like opera companies, orchestras and theater and dance ensembles offer "family" or "community" days. Many of them even have dedicated educational programs aimed at getting young people involved. But it's so rare to go and see a play or hear a concert of an evening and see any people under the age of 18 in the audience.

Why is this? With so many arts organizations offering cut-price tickets to this demographic, it's hard to imagine that price is a real barrier to entry. (After all, teens can often go to see a great concert, play or ballet for the price of a movie ticket.) And it's not like arts productions start and finish as late as rock gigs or dance clubs.

It's common knowledge that one of the best ways to get people excited about culture - to get them thinking about the world in a new way and inspire them to create - is to introduce them to the best arts offerings around from an early age. It's up to parents to get their kids to the theaters and concert halls. Culture isn't just for adults. It's for kids too.

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