A Closer Look at Arts Engagement in California: Insights from the NEA’s Survey of Public Participation in the Arts

Every four years, the National Endowment for the Arts and the United States Census Bureau partner to survey tens of thousands of adults across the country in an attempt to understand how people participate in the arts. This report, published in 2015, is the first in a two-part study commissioned by the Irvine Foundation to understand what California’s residents do to participate in the arts and, importantly, how that varies across the state’s diverse population. 

The report finds that attendance at arts nonprofit-sponsored events have fallen, and even more so, that a lot of arts audiences don’t reflect California’s diversity—in terms of race and ethnicity, income, or education level. At the same time, it found that while Californians are attending traditional arts events less, they are participating in arts in many other new and exciting ways. Arts participation has traditionally been understood to mean arts attendance—and this is what the survey explores—but the data shows that we can benefit from a new understanding and definition for arts participation. 

Explore key findings in this infographic.

 

A Closer Look at Arts Engagement in California Insights from the NEA’s Survey of Public Participation in the Arts


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By The Wallace Foundation
Nov 08, 2018

This case study originally released in 2011 describes how the Steppenwolf Theatre Company has addressed the vexing problem of falling ticket subscription rates by developing deeper relationships with both subscribers and non-subscribers. To that end, it launched an experiment centered on promoting a dialogue among audience members and the artists about the process of creating theater. Audience members took part in nightly post-show discussions, attended special thematic events and were offered access to a rich selection of online content—including videos, podcasts, blogs, articles and slide shows—in which the artists talked about their work from a variety of perspectives.

The result: During a two-year period, many audience members who used to attend only one performance per season bought tickets to two, three or more shows. At the same time, the relationship-deepening initiatives had the added benefit of supporting high subscriber renewal rates.

This report is part of a set of case studies and reports looking at the efforts of arts organizations that received Wallace Excellence Awards to reach new audiences and deepen relationships with current ones.


By Click Festival Elsinore, Denmark
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The CLICK Festival is an important, quite specific annual activity, which takes place over a weekend every year. It is initiated by the Culture Yard in Elsinore and realized through a complex collaboration with local and international partners, reaching out to an audience of 3.600 in 2016. CLICK reaches a segment with an interest in exploring the cross field between contemporary art, science and technology, those willing to get on board on a journey towards ‘undiscovered’ opportunities. The Culture Yard is a cross disciplinary and aesthetic institution aiming at a triangular vision based on three equally balanced elements: the artistic production, the social audience experience and the historical or architectural framework. Whether it is a performance, a concert, talks or art installations, these three elements form the very spine of the programming.

http://www.clickfestival.dk/


By Caos, Centro Arti Opificio Siri Terni, Italy
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With over 5000 sq. meters at its disposal, CAOS is a complex centre of art production, hosting two museums, one exhibition area, one theatre, a residency centre, a library, a café- restaurant, a cinema and a special area for educational activities with about 1100 activities annual. Caos is community-oriented and artists-led initiative, with the aim to mediate between artists and communities in a participatory way.