Volume: 14 Issue: 9
What motivates people to attend an arts activity? What prevents others from attending? This issue highlights four American reports that examine motivations for and barriers to arts attendance.
Based on the 2012 U.S. General Social Survey, this report provides a detailed examination of the motivations of arts attendees (the 54% of Americans who attended at least one exhibition or performance during the previous year) and the barriers facing “interested non-attendees” (the 13% who did not attend a visual or performing arts event during the previous year but wanted to go to at least one exhibition or live performance).
A Synthesis of Literature and Expert Interviews
This literature review, originally created as part of a California arts participation study, explores how people participate in the arts, who participates, where participation happens, as well as motivations and barriers to participation.
It’s not just the price of admission that’s keeping poor and less-educated adults away from arts events
This article, based on a variety of reports and data sources, indicates that “there is a significant proportion of economically disadvantaged people who do not take the initiative to experience the arts, even when time and cost are not issues.” Furthermore, the article argues that “a lack of explicit interest is far and away the dominant factor keeping low-SES [socioeconomic status] populations away from arts events”. Low socioeconomic status is defined “as those with at most a high school education and in the bottom half of the income distribution in the United States”.
Based largely on data from 48 cultural organizations that offer regularly scheduled free days, this article argues that “free days often do the very opposite of mission work”, in that they tend to attract higher income individuals who probably would have come (back) to the organization anyway.