September 13, 2018

Arts attendance is up

Pacific Standard -Read any good novels lately? A major new study from the National Endowment for the Arts suggests the odds of a positive reply have declined over the past five years.

In its just-released look at trends in arts attendance and literary reading, it reports the percentage of American adults who read novels or short stories has declined over the past five years, from 45.2 percent in 2012 to 41.8 percent in 2017. The percentage who read poetry has increased over that same period, from 6.7 percent to 11.7 percent.

... In the 2017 survey, 43.4 percent of American adults—nearly 107 million people—reported they attended a live arts performance during the previous 12 months. That's up significantly from 40.2 percent in 2012.

This increase is driven not by stage plays or classical music concerts (which have basically held their own in recent years), but rather by attendance at less-formal events. The percentage of adults who attended outdoor performing arts festivals increased from 20.8 percent in 2008 and 2012 to 24.2 percent in 2017.

.....Attendance boosts were similar for the visual arts. The percentage of adults visiting art museums or galleries rose from 21 percent in 2012 to 23.7 percent in 2017. The percent of those "touring parks, monuments, buildings, or neighborhoods for historic or design value" grew from just under 24 percent in 2012 to 28.3 percent in 2017.

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