For almost a decade, intensive efforts have been underway to bring “quality” children’s arts education to public television. From the very start, progress has been slow and not without conflict; many parties, very much including the National Endowment for the Arts, have insisted on having their say in the outcome, and on many occasions it has seemed as if no programs would ever be brought to the screen. But now, at last, some have been. This past fall, a series of ten half-hour programs, collectively entitled “Behind the Scenes” and each costing perhaps a half-million dollars to produce, appeared on PBS. This series combined “state-of-the-art” children’s TV programming and all the compromises inherent in any bureaucratically administered educational enterprise. The arts subjects covered ranged from the visual arts to dance, theater, and music. Three programs of the...


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