Wyoming Arts Council

New Research Reveals State-By-State Arts Participation Rates


NEA_logoWashington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts is releasing new research that for the first time offers a complete state-by- state perspective on how American adults participate in the arts, including activities in Wyoming. The new research comes in the form of an “arts data profile,” an NEA collection of statistics, graphics, and summary results from data-mining about the arts. This profile is titled State‐Level Estimates of Arts Participation Patterns.

The arts data profile features two issue briefs or summary results: “Highlights of Arts Participation by State (2012‐2015)” and “Why Some States Exhibit Higher (or Lower) Rates of Arts Participation.” “Highlights of Arts Participation by State (2012‐2015)” examines U.S. adult arts participation through seven measures, comparing each state’s average results to the national average for that measure. The measures are:

  • Performing Arts Attendance
  • Art-Exhibit Attendance
  • Movie-Going
  • Touring of Visiting Buildings, Neighborhoods, Parks, and Other Sites for Their Historic or Design Value
  • Literary Reading
  • Personal Performance or Creation of Artworks
  • Consuming Art Through Electronic Media

From the profile, arts participation rates for Wyoming are listed below.

                             Measure National Average WY Average Difference
Performing Arts Attendance 32.0% 42.7% +10.7%
Art-Exhibit Attendance 18.7% 26.1% +7.4%
Movie-Going 58.0% 66.6% +8.6%
Touring 27.4% 34.6% +7.2%
Literary Reading 43.0% 55.9% +12.9%
Personal Performance or Creation 45.1% 58.7% +13.6%
Consuming Art Through Electronic Media 61.0% 63.7% +2.7%

The second issue brief, “Why Some States Exhibit Higher (or Lower) Rates of Arts Participation” looks at three factors that correlate closely with arts participation and can provide insight into a state’s participation rates.  Those factors are education, poverty, and access to arts organizations.

According to Wyoming Arts Council Executive Director Michael Lange, “The arts participation numbers are really exciting for Wyoming. On every measure, Wyoming is above the national average. These numbers show that the tireless work of local arts organizations to not only present the arts but also engage adults in the creation of art is really paying off. With the multitude of benefits from being involved with the arts, from health, economics, livability and social engagement, both private and public funders of the arts can rest assured that their money is being well spent and contributing to building stronger Wyoming communities. ”

In addition to State-Level Estimates of Arts Participation Patterns, the NEA issued another arts data profile titled Results from the Annual Arts Basic Survey (2013-2015). Analysis for this profile indicates that despite decades of declining arts attendance by U.S. adults in the performing and visual arts, more recent rates are holding steady. The arts data profile includes five research briefs examining different measures of national arts participation, not only the type of arts participation but also the influence of factors such as geography; gender, race, ethnicity, and age; and occupation.

Background to the arts data profiles

Since 1982, the NEA has periodically issued results from the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA), a comprehensive survey that has shown significant declines in attendance at performing arts events and at art museums/galleries over long timeframes, particularly between 2002 and 2012.

In addition to referencing the SPPA, the two new profiles include data from the newer Annual Arts Basic Survey (AABS), only in its third year. Although the AABS affords a less detailed perspective than the SPPA, its results are issued more frequently, allowing for more accurate trend-tracking. Trend analysis is useful not only for researchers and the general public to enhance their understanding of how Americans engage with the arts, but also for arts workers who can use the findings to inform their presentation of art to the public.

For more information on this research, go to arts.gov or contact Colin Stricklin at (307) 777-5234.

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