How do individuals and communities engage in the arts and culture? For the first time, analyses of supply, demand and motivations for consumer behavior in the arts are available for a single year. In 2012, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) partnered with other federal agencies to document how Americans connect to the arts.
NEA partnered with the General Social Survey to ask why people attend arts events (specifically music, dance, theater, and visual arts). This new report looks beyond demographics to discover the attitudes, motivations, and barriers for attending the arts at different life stages. Common barriers included lack of time for people with young children, difficult locations to get to, and not having someone to go with. Motivations include socializing, learning new things, and supporting the community.
The longitudinal Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) revealed that adults who attended performing arts or visited museums as children were three to four times as likely to see shows or visit museums as adults. Exposure to the arts in childhood turns out to be a stronger predictor of adult arts participation than education, gender, age, or income. Nearly three-quarters of American adults — about 167 million people — used electronic media to view or listen to art, and large proportions of adults used electronic media to create music or visual art. More than half (54 percent) of all American adults attended at least one live music, theater, or dance performance in the past year, or they went to view an art exhibit. That’s about 120 million people.
The Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA), a partnership between the NEA and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), provides the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. In 2012, arts and cultural production contributed more than $698 billion to the U.S. economy, or 4.32 percent to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, more than construction ($586.7B) or transportation and warehousing ($464.1B). 4.7 million workers were employed in the production of arts and cultural goods, receiving $334.9 billion in compensation. Arts and cultural spending has a ripple effect on the overall economy, boosting both commodities and jobs. For example, for every 100 jobs created from new demand for the arts, 62 additional jobs are also created.
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.
The data from this research is available free through the National Archive of Data on Arts & Culture. Click on the links below to read the detailed NEA reports:
General Social Survey
Survey of Public Participation in the Arts
Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account