No doubt, universities have long been meccas of creative and dramatic programs and art museums. But, today, in an era of reduced government funding for the arts — and an increased interest from students who want to major in artistic fields — many university leaders are feeling like the stakes are higher than ever before.
According to College Board data compiled by the Art & Science Group, an enrollment consulting firm, there was a 44 percent increase from 1996 to 2005 in the number of high school seniors who say that they plan to major in visual and performing arts. For business and commerce majors, the gain was much less modest, at 12 percent, while the percentage who plan to major in social sciences and history has decreased by 15 percent.
This same trend is also happening in Canadian post-secondary institutions with major arts-related building projects underway at schools such as York University and the Royal Conservatory of Music.
No word on what these students will be doing upon completion of their degrees. The arts remains a difficult place to earn a living--hopefully these institutions will also be equipping future arts professionals with the wherewithal to build and grow their fields through arts leadership programs.