Arts Education Policy Review vol:116 issue:2 pages:63-77
In this article we explore the influence of the geographical proximity of out-of-school arts education provision on the individual decision of children and youngsters to enroll in an arts education course. The distance between the homes of the Belgian students in compulsory education and the nearest offer of out-of-school arts education (a network called: Part-Time Arts Education (PTAE)) is calculated on population-wide administrative data. The results show a negative and non-linear relation between distance and enrollment. Especially young children are affected by this. Students with a low socio-economic status (SES) are not affected more by this than other students. While students with a low SES live proportionally more in big cities, which are areas with a bigger density of arts education provision, our analysis shows they still participate less than other students. When students with a low SES do participate it is not in a course significantly nearer to their area of residence. As the distance to a specific PTAE course increases, only a small part of students are willing to substitute their choice of course into another course of study that is spatially closer. Therefore, distance is a barrier hard to overcome, and often closes of the opportunity to participate in arts education. These findings hold implications for the policy decisions on the establishment of new educational facilities for arts education and on incentives to tackle the costs linked with travelling to art courses.