Audience Participation Research

Audience Demographic Research Review

In early 2009, the League asked McKinsey & Company to collect and analyze existing orchestra audience participation data in order to understand the impact of demographic trends on orchestras now and in the future. The League’s new Audience Demographic Research Review contains their report.

Made publicly available on December 10, 2009, the Audience Demographic Research Review confirms the findings of the National Endowment for the Arts 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, while providing new details about behavior within and across generations.

To read the League’s Audience Demographic Research Review, please click here.

  • To read the NEA’s Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, please  click here
  • To read the League’s comprehensive memo highlighting the findings of both studies, please click here

NEA Report - Regional Research Note

  • The National Endowment for the Arts has recently released a “Research Note” highlighting some geographic differences in arts participation based on the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA).   While the full SPPA offers statistics for the U.S. as a whole and a few large regions, this report goes into more depth, including arts participation rates for 32 states.  For example, Oregon ranks highest among classical music attendance, with nearly 17% of its adultNEA SPPAs attending a classical concert in 2008, as compared to 9.3% of the population of the U.S.  Massachusetts also ranks highly, with 14.3% attendance. To quickly find the percentage of people who report attending classical performances in your state, look at the sixth column in the data tables which start on page 20 of the report.

    The paper also shows a relationship between the number of arts organizations per capita in a state and arts attendance.  Not surprisingly, as there are more organizations per person, attendance rates tend to go up.  New York leads the number of arts organizations per capita, with 7.3 organizations per 100,000 people.  This is more than twice the average in the U.S. (3.1). To read this report, click here.

Another way to understand arts participation is by asking where it takes place. Come as You Are: Informal Arts Participation in Urban and Rural Communities is the NEA’s first research publication in several years to examine the “informal arts”—such as playing a musical instrument, attending an art event at a place of worship, or visiting a craft fair. To read this publication, click here.

Mid-Winter Managers Meeting Plenary (2010)

Climate Change
Sunday, January 31, 2010
@ InterContinental The Barclay New York
Two new national studies, the National Endowment for the Arts 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts and the League’s Audience Demographic Research Review, now offer statistically reliable national demographic information about audience participation. The findings raise both serious concerns and new opportunities for orchestras. This year’s Mid-Winter plenary focused on the critical nature of these findings and offer insight into how it affects your orchestra.

Presentations of by Sunil Iyengar (NEA) and Atul Kanagat (League), were followed by a discussion with Jesse Rosen, League president and CEO, and Paul DiMaggio, A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University, reflecting on the key findings. Peer-to-peer roundtable discussions closed out the plenary.

The League’s Audience Demographic Research Review was made possible in part by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.