Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Arts Attendance

The National Endowment for the Arts has just released the results of its 2008 survey of public participation in the arts, and they're kind of a downer. You can download the whole PDF here, but the summary article (the first link here) covers it pretty well: arts participation is down in all age groups, and it doesn't just correlate with the poor economy. For example, attendance at art museums fell to the level of more than 20 years ago. Some questions the report doesn't address are 1) whether the decline in attendance correlates with increases in admission charges, which no doubt outpace inflation; 2) whether increases in admission charges reflect the reduction in governmental arts funding (and, therefore, whether falling attendance correlates with reductions in funding); 3) whether the decline in attendance is due to greater competition (the article and survey have positive things to say about online participation in the arts, but is that online participation indicative of a shift away from physical attendance and toward virtual attendance?). We'd love to hear what you think and how to attract young audiences.

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