The 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts explores five ways Americans engage with art. Highlights released by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) show that a large number of adults in the U.S. report taking part in arts activities.
The NEA has partnered with the United States Census Bureau six times since 1982 to conduct the SPPA. The 2012 survey asked a nationally representative sample of adults ages 18 and older if they had participated in five broad categories of arts activity in the past year: attending, reading, learning, making/sharing art, and consuming art via electronic media. Examples of the participation choices include:
Attending – performing arts events; art museums, galleries, and visual arts events; destinations with historic or design value; and movies.
Reading- literature (novels or short stories, poetry, and plays), as well as reading rates for any book (fiction or nonfiction) outside of school or work.
Art-making or art-sharing (two separate categories) –
I. dance; photography; various types of music; film/video; the fiber arts; leatherwork, metalwork, woodwork, the visual arts; pottery, ceramics, and jewelry-making; theater; and opera.
II. scrapbooking; creative writing, photo editing, posting and sharing artwork, remixing music
Electronic consumption – books and literature, the visual arts, dance, theater, opera, and various types of music.
Arts Learning – arts class or lesson in or out of school, or learned arts subjects through some other means.
A little over 2 percent of the respondents were from North Carolina, making it difficult to pinpoint specific geographic or demographic participation patterns. The NEA will be releasing further analysis of the SPPA data in coming years.