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Audience Development and Arts Education

By Gail Kelley,2014-08-17 17:13
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Audience Development and Arts Education

    Audience Development and Arts Education

    - Based on the Korean Arts Education Policy -

     Jooho Kim

    President

    Korea Arts and Culture Education Service

Audience Development - The Main Task of Arts Management

    Support for the arts has been adopted as an important agenda by most nations around the world. Even though their support is different in size and method, nations provide direct or indirect support to their artists’ creative activities and to the general public’s

    participation in the arts. This support becomes even more crucial for performing arts that are in difficult situations due to market failures or cost disease. Audiences, both as art consumers and patrons, are primary targets for arts activities. It can even be said that under uncertain circumstances, audiences could ultimately determine whether arts activities will turn out to be successful or not. Therefore, it is critical to bring forth audience development as the main task for arts managers.

    Who is our audience? We need to answer this question first. We can consider an audience member as a consumer of individual arts activities which arts managers attract through the use of varied marketing techniques. However, in both commercial and artistic success, audiences play a pivotal role in the creative process. If artistic activities are meant to be communication between artists and audiences, the latter has also a major role in the creation of art, participating in its development and completion.

    From a social perspective, audiences include all members of society. Moreover, in a democratic society, anyone can participate in the arts regardless of economic, geographical, or racial differences. In order to create such an environment, governments provide direct and indirect supports for the arts. In other words, governments ensure that all the conditions necessary are met to expand the size of arts audiences and to increase their participation by as many members of society as possible.

    There are two main goals in arts policies to support and develop the arts. They are: 1) to support artists and (or) their creative processes; and 2) to facilitate access to the arts. The latter policy aims to increase the size of audiences and to enhance their understanding and appreciation of the arts through the institutionalization of various support programs. In addition, arts education that is provided in schools, or in communities with public support, is also closely related to arts managers’ efforts in

    audience development in a broad and long-term perspective. This report studies cases of arts education or culture education that are being provided with public support to find out how they affect audience development efforts by arts managers.

Concept of Arts Education

    Korea started to consider cultural policy as a main agenda within its national policies 30 years ago. The policy focus was initially on preserving national heritage; then, on expanding cultural infrastructure and facilities. Overall, Korea’s cultural policy has

    focused on supports for artists and arts projects, i.e. an artist-oriented arts support policy. Recently, however, Korean society has increasingly given consideration to the general public who enjoy the arts, making arts audiences a main part of Korea’s cultural policy

    as well. We understand through this change in policy that the arts have come closer to the public in general and that we need to deepen our efforts to enrich the quality of life of Korean citizens through the arts.

    There are various conceptualizations of arts education. In a short-term perspective, one can take an individual-artistic view to consider arts experiences as a way to develop skills on how to express and to solve problems, while a long-term, cultural-social view identifies arts experiences as means to develop citizens who can understand diverse peoples and cultures. In Korea, these two views are to a certain extent divided, resulting in the preference for “culture and arts education” rather than “arts education” alone. In

    some sense, culture and arts education looks like a tricycle with each wheel carrying a unique meaning - culture, arts, and education as it moves in the same direction.

    Culture and arts education as terms may be generally interpreted in the following four ways and each interpretation shows the conditions and positions of those who are using these terms.

? Professional Education

    Some artists think arts education is about developing a future artist, i.e. part of the education necessary to nurture professional artists. True, arts education in the early days of one’s life can motivate a person to actually choose an artistic career, which has educational implications for sure. However, this arts education is not different from what is being considered in existing professional education institutes where the training focus is mainly on the development of artistic skills. Therefore, it is difficult to establish a comprehensive creative education program as part of social education or life-long education programs from this view.

? Cultural Education

    Those who have an elite view of the arts and culture think that they are based on intelligence and knowledge and consider them “high arts” and “high-culture.” From this

    standpoint, arts education is all about teaching basic knowledge to develop a man of culture and to establish what can be called a “democracy of culture.” In reality, this view limits the scope of culture and the arts, and includes only a privileged few who can interpret and understand them as such. This is opposite to what Korea is pursuing in arts education with its cultural policy.

? Development of the Culture Consumer

    When planning and promoting arts products, or operating artistic companies, arts education can be used in one of the following ways: 1) marketing to develop consumers; or 2) fund-raising to extend public financial sources to also include education areas. If public support decreases or market situations worsen, arts managers strengthen education programs to diversify income sources. Efforts to facilitate access to artworks and increasing the enjoyment of the arts are key to developing potential consumers, meaning that arts education is what active and forward-looking arts managers usually do.

? Culture Education

    If culture manifests itself in daily life and a society has diverse and plural cultures, citizens become the main players of artistic expression and the creative process by taking the initiative to choose and participate in cultural activities, not just simply remaining recipients of culture. In order to maintain this so-called “cultural democracy,”

    culture education is needed to develop individual creativity and to facilitate communication within diverse communities. In other words, culture education is more

    about helping trainees develop problem-solving skills and less about defining trainees as a simple training object.

    The needs and requirements to interpret culture in a social context and to provide culture education have led to the development of Korea’s arts education policy to its

    current state. In Korea, culture education in a civil society means to bring forth creativity and artistic expression into people’s daily life to improve the quality of civic life. Until recently, Korean education has focused more on students passing college entrance examinations and less on enriching the minds and bodies of the young, almost devastating the potential quality of their lives. As a response to this problem, we have to taken the arts seriously to find out how to use the arts to overcome this current educational dilemma and how a social intervention can be made. In this regard, of primary importance are the social movements that organize the activities, subjects, systems and conditions for participating in the culture and education spheres. From this point of view, however, culture education seems to be a somewhat different from the main goal of arts management, that is audience development.

Arts Education Policy in Korea

    Currently, arts education has attracted attention around the world as a solution to problems in formal education. The World Conference on Arts Education recently held by UNESCO and the Portuguese Government was an effort to move this notion forward.

    Currently, Korea pursues a comprehensive vision for its arts education policy. Since Korea experienced rapid economic growth in a relatively short period of time, most people did not have enough time to develop a deep understanding and affinity to cultural matters. To solve this problem, cultural policy has moved its focus from the artist-centered to the audience-centered, implementing arts education to both spread artistic creativity and sensitivity and to enlarge a future generation of artists and audiences. In Korea, there is a growing expectation that arts education can increase the number of audiences, while boosting awareness of cultural diversity, addressing public education problems, and resolving cultural disparity, etc.

Korean arts education policies have the following goals:

? Legal Basis and Financial Resources

    Enact a special law that stipulates: 1) the roles and responsibilities of central and regional governments to promote arts education; and 2) establish a funding agency and secure public resources, in order to push for arts education systematically.

? Arts Education in Schools

    Increase the number of subjects of arts education in the school curriculum and provide support for teachers and trainers required for arts education. Current teachers should be re-trained and artists should be trained and dispatched to schools nationwide.

? Arts Education in Communities

    Expand arts education programs based on the facilities art centers, museums, and

    galleries to increase the arts education opportunities for adults in regional communities. Support in this area is mainly directed to provide arts education to marginalized sectors.

? Public Awareness

    It is important to increase people’s awareness and attention to what arts education means to their society and culture and how arts education affects them. Consistent advocacy is needed to create various partnerships which are essential for the promotion of arts education.

Arts Management and Arts Education Support Policy

    Initially, the concept and practice of arts management needs to be discussed to reveal the relationship between arts management and arts education policy. Arts management can be defined as a catalyst to reduce the gap between artistic activities and their audiences, for which various marketing and fundraising techniques are implemented. This is closely related to a policy to facilitate arts education. As we can see in “Arts for All,” arts education will generate various participants regardless of it being “education

    for the arts” or “education through the arts.” In fact, it is a long-term marketing effort to

    increase the number of arts patrons and consumers. In particular, arts education for children will boost both the present and future demand for the arts.

    A public policy to promote arts education is, therefore, part of both arts advocacy programs and education advocacy programs. Arts usually make a contribution to education and society in the following ways: 1) artworks become a subject of education; 2) the artist’s creative process becomes part of a class; and 3) an artist develops a role as a teacher, which can secure support for both educational and artistic objectives. This framework can offer an opportunity for arts managers to increase fundraising sources for their own arts marketing endeavor.

    Simply put, arts education sets parameters to resolve the economic limits of an art product. Usually, people think that the arts can justify its public support because it is public goods. However, since arts education has an even more additional quality of public goods with its element of “education,” it can receive even stronger public

    support. Moreover, arts education is empirical in its nature, providing an emotional basis and sensibility that helps audiences (consumers) reduce their risk when making choices about arts consumption. Lastly, arts education provides a long-term solution to remove entry barriers that naturally exist on arts scenes, although this is not its original objective.

    Audience development means increasing the absolute number of art audiences, which can be achieved not by maintaining the existing audience but by discovering and nurturing new audiences. Fortunately, Asia, unlike western society, can be expected to have a larger undiscovered potential audience in addition to its existing audience, and has more potential to develop various indigenous arts as well as western arts as commercial products. Therefore, it is important to develop art appreciation and to expand arts audiences in order to identify potential future audiences. For this purpose, arts education can be an effective mean for audience development.

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