Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa Convenes Arts Service Organizations and NEA Discipline Directors to Discuss the NEA's 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts
Convening is an opportunity to discuss the future of arts participation
December 10, 2009
Washington, DC - Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa convened a roundtable discussion with national arts service organizations, regional arts organizations, and NEA staff to discuss the NEA's 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, the nation's largest and most representative study of adults' arts participation habits.
Representatives from 40 service organizations participated in the convening, including the Association of Art Museum Directors, Dance/USA, the Future of Music Coalition, the National Association of Latino Art and Culture, the National Center for Creativity in Aging, the National Network for Folk Arts in Education, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.
The convening began with a greeting from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman, followed by a summary presentation of the survey's findings from Sunil Iyengar, NEA Director of Research. Representatives from three service organizations offered formal responses – Helen De Michiel from the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, Carlton Turner from Alternate ROOTS, and Jesse Rosen from The League of American Orchestras – following which Ms. Shigekawa led a frank and freewheeling conversation about how these findings should inform the arts community's work going forward, as well as how the survey should be expanded and refined in the future.
The survey was conducted in partnership with the United States Census Bureau and asked more than 18,000 people 18 years of age and older about their frequency of arts engagement. It has been conducted five times since 1982.
"It is important that the National Endowment for the Arts have regular conversation with the arts community about how the public participates in the arts, and what we can do to connect more Americans with more art, more often," said NEA Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa. "Our research shows a strong connection between arts participation and civic participation, but art only works when the public participates. Today was a chance for the NEA staff to hear and learn from the service organizations that work with our country's arts organizations, and we look forward to many more such opportunities."
"This is an important and unique opportunity to engage in conversation with colleagues and peers on issues that will shape the direction of our work and the work of the NEA," said Carlton Turner, Director of Alternate ROOTS. "Having time to strategize on how our organizations can support more participation in the arts is undervalued, and it is important that the NEA take the lead in making these engagements possible."
"This is the right conversation to be having at this moment," said League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen. "We are grateful to the NEA for undertaking the research that is prompting this dialogue. Our own research confirms that something big is changing in the way Americans participate in all types of activities. That is why orchestras across the country are embracing innovative strategies for bringing classical music to a broader cross-section of the American public."
"When I think about creativity, I think about connectivity: the emerging digital landscape offers so many new pathways to explore media as a powerful way to connect people and cultural institutions," said Helen De Michiel, Co-Director of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. "These new tools demand collaboration to inspire new and younger Americans to participate in the arts, which is why I was thrilled to be in conversation with my colleagues across the disciplines today. Never before in our culture has there been a moment when the arts can be democratically offered across generations and geographies using all the technologies now available in people's homes and hands."
Among the findings that were discussed:
Audiences for ballet, classical music, jazz, and theatre are both declining and growing older
Americans are increasingly participating in the arts through new media
Generation Y reports taking fewer arts classes/lessons
Different demographic groups described different cultural preferences
Arts participation correlates with higher civic participation
Regional differences in arts participation
The NEA will release additional topic-specific reports on the roles of age, race and ethnicity, arts learning, media use, and arts creation and performance.
The survey, geographic research note, questionnaire, raw data and user's guide are available on the NEA website: www.arts.gov.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts – both new and established – bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
For more than 30 years, the NEA Office of Research & Analysis has produced reliable and nationally representative research on significant topics affecting artists and arts organizations. The NEA is the only federal agency to conduct long-term and detailed analyses of arts participation.
For more information, please visit www.arts.gov.
i. For the purpose of consistency, this comparison of 2008 to previous years excludes Latin/Spanish/Salsa concert attendance rates.
ii. Results from 1985 survey were largely similar to those in 1982 and have been excluded from the report.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency