Assessing the shift in arts engagement

Posted on: October 5, 2012

Tuesday (10/2) on the Philanthropy News Digest, Sharon DeMark of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners writes, “In the nearly three decades during which the National Endowment for the Arts has surveyed Americans about their participation in the arts—typically defined as attending events such as jazz or classical concerts, operas, plays, or ballets, or visiting art museums or galleries—participation has shown double-digit rates of decline, with only 35.6 percent of adults having attended an arts event in 2008. And yet the same 2008 NEA data also show that when the definition is broadened to include engagement in the arts via broadcasts or recordings, some 74 percent of American adults—more than double the number who reported attending an arts event—participated in an arts activity. … Given the evolving definition of arts and arts engagement, it’s interesting to note that the lion’s share of arts funding goes to larger, more established institutions across the country. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy reports that only 2 percent of the nation’s arts organizations have budgets of more than $5 million, yet in 2009 these organizations received 55 percent of all contributions, gifts, and grants. While large institutions are helping to redefine the art experience … there is ample opportunity for arts funders to identify and support smaller and less-established organizations.”

Posted October 5, 2012