Traditionally in the United States, schools and after-school programs have played a promi-nent part in teaching young people about the arts. Arts education has been waning in K-12 public schools in recent times, however. This is especially true in low-income communities, where public schools have often cut back on arts instruction so they can devote limited public education dollars to subjects such as writing and math that are the focus of high-stakes standardized tests.
When we look outside of school, however, we see a strikingly different landscape, one full of promise for engaging young people in artistic activity. What makes this landscape possible is an eagerness to explore that springs from youths' own creative passions -- what we call "interest-driven arts learning" -- combined with the power of digital technology.
This report is a step in trying to understand the new territory. It gives a rundown of scholarship in the areas of arts and out-of-school-hours learning; offers a framework for thinking about interest-driven arts learning in a digital age; examines young people's media consumption; provides a survey of youths' creative endeavors online and elsewhere, along with a look at the proliferation of technologies that young people are using in the arts; and concludes with thoughts about challenges and possibilities for the future