The National Endowment of the Arts has conducted a study since 1982 that tracks attendance at arts events. The complete report will be released later today, but preliminary data released shows that attendance is at its lowest level since the NEA began conducting the report, according to the LA Times:
“A new report released by the National Endowment for the Arts said that the number of American adults attending arts and cultural events has sunk to its lowest level since 1982, which was when the NEA began conducting the poll.
The study, which was organized in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, noted that the downward trend was at least partially due to the deteriorating economic conditions of the past two years, including the rise in the price of gas and an overall drop in consumer spending.
But it also emphasized larger shifts in the American public’s relationship to the arts. The report, which uses data collected in 2008, said that the share of adults who attended at least one arts event was 34.6%, down from 39.4% in 2002, which was the last time the survey was conducted.
Moreover, those who did attend arts events did so less frequently. The report found that the average number of attendances per individual was 5.2 in 2008, down from 6.1 in 2002.
Among the types of arts events that the report measures are museum shows, classical-music concerts, opera, ballet, theater, jazz concerts and more.”
The full report should be available later today at the NEA website.