Despite a growing body of literature examining the effects of arts exposure and participation for youth, little is known about the development of attitudes toward art in early childhood. In this study, we used an experimental research design to investigate the effect of arts exposure on the development of children’s attitudes toward art. Applicant groups (n = 26) with students in kindergarten through 2nd grade (n = 2,253) were randomly assigned to participate in an art museum’s educational program, which included pre-curricular materials, a visit to an art museum with a guided tour and arts-based activities, and post-curricular classroom materials. We collected original data from students in their classrooms that measured their attitudes toward art museums and art generally, as well as art knowledge. We found that exposure to the arts at an early age produced significant positive effects on the development of students’ attitudes toward the arts. Our findings demonstrate that arts-based exposure facilitated by schools can be an effective strategy for developing positive orientations toward art in young children.
Cultivating interest in art: Causal effects of arts exposure during early childhood: Early Childhood Research Quarterly