Arts Learning in the Digital Age
6. Inviting and Sustaining Participation in The Arts
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INVITING AND SUSTAINING PARTICIPATION IN THE ARTS
Looking across the diverse communities, practices, and genres of art making introduced in this report, we see a range of potential entry points for interest-driven arts learning but also some barriers to greater participation. As Clay Shirky argues, the largest gap in some respects is between doing nothing and doing something for the first time (2008). We have an opportunity to recognize and celebrate youths’ participation in interest-driven arts production, regardless of the form it takes, and envision interest-driven arts learning as inclusively as we can.
Scholars studying Web 2.0, social media, DIY, and the new participa-tory culture have shown that people like to make things and share them with others (Gauntlett, 2011, 2012; Shirky, 2008; Dougherty, 2011b), which helps explain the presence of 80,000 attendees of the Maker Faire each year and the vast number of people committing volunteer time to projects such as Wikipedia, Scratch, and other open-source communities. For many teens, however, the inclination to make art competes with a hard financial reality. Bypassing a paying job (even one that earns minimum wage) in order to socialize and make art at the local library isn’t a choice they can realistically make.
Paid positions and opportunities to make money could be a way to keep this age group engaged in the arts. Some youths, like Ashley Qualls of What-everLife, start their own Web-based companies, incorporating entrepreneurial skills into their...
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