New NEA study digs deeper into habits of arts audiences

Posted on: May 2, 2011

Thursday (4/28) on the Washington Post blog ArtsPost, Jacqueline Trescott reports, “Millions of Americans enjoy arts performances. That was evident from the number of performing arts centers built in the last decade, the boom in theater companies and the alarm when a symphony or dance group encounters financial distress. But new data from the researchers at the National Endowment for the Arts dug a little deeper into those habits. Primarily, a good number of the 1.5 million Americans who go to an arts performances on an given day bring someone along. Less than 7 percent go alone—41 percent have a companion and 54 percent bring a family member. They usually spend 2.7 hours at the event. … ‘Time and Money: Using Federal Data to Measure the Value of Performing Arts Activities,’ was produced by the NEA using data from the U.S Economic Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. … Admission fees accounted for 35 percent of the income for the not-for-profit performing arts groups, underscoring the importance of private donations and public funding. For the first time the arts endowment analyzed the time spent, even down to the time of day or night some activities happened. More people go to performing arts on weekends and holidays. More people go to museums on their lunch hour, the study found.”

Posted May 2, 2011