According to a study released by the National Endowment for the Arts in November 2006, "The Arts & Civic Engagement: Involved in Arts, Involved in Life," based on a 2002 survey of 17,135 adults (ages 18 and older), young adult (18 - 34) participation in the arts has declined over the past twenty-year period. Attendance at performing arts events showed a marked decline, 18-34 years old went from having the highest rate of literary reading across all adult categories to the lowest rate, and the rate of volunteerism by the 18 to 34 age cohort declined as well. If young people are less engaged in the arts than they were just twenty years ago, that may make it that much more difficult for the arts sector to recruit and retain the participation of this age group.
It [another report with similar findings] keeps saying that younger people have to be taught the value of the arts and culture. Not so -- they have arts and culture of their own. It's just not the kind of art and culture that people in "the arts" keep talking about. If people in the arts want to sell their kind of art to a younger audience, fine, let them do it. But they'll never succeed if they don't respect the art that younger people already have. And maybe "the arts" need to expand to include the art that smart younger people identify with, even if, by traditional standards, much of gets labeled as popular culture.
What's wrong with this picture?
If you don't know the answer to that question, or imagine there's nothing wrong with that picture, you're part of the problem, not the solution.