The benefits of teaching art to young people have often fallen into two camps. Children study or practice "art for art's sake" to develop a particular skill. Or they approach "art for academics' sake" to enhance their other studies.
But this report comes at arts learning from a different angle: What if learning about or practicing an art could help young people connect more directly to their communities and the world they live in? And how might that change the experience and outcomes for both students and communities?
The report, led by Kylie Peppler, an expert in arts learning, and her team at the University of California, Irvine, begins with a connected learning framework. In connected learning, educators seek to create meaningful learning experiences based on young people's interests and then connect these experiences to real-world issues and communities. The authors put art within this context to discover how arts education can help young people build connections with their culture, identity, home lives, communities, professional artists, and future aspirations.