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NEA Study Finds a Drop in Arts Attendance


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#16 pherank

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 02:14 PM

 

. But football - that's another matter. Way too much coverage for football which is often not provding a good 'product'.

I'm not a sports fan, but I wouldn't say that football or other sports are not good "products".  

 

 

Not to stray down another path, but what I am referring to here is in fact a great big discussion in sports land: NFL games suffer from many 'quality' problems due to overwork of the players, and the unquestionable violence of the sport. Some of the problems facing the NFL these days that effect quality and people's perceptions of the  sport:

  1. Use of performance enhancing drugs and illegal drugs (if players are caught it does mean suspension) has been difficult to control.
  2. An inordinate number of off-field criminal offenses by NFL players (and the numbers keep rising).
  3. Concussions are proving to be a big long-term health issue for the sport, and there will continue to be expensive legal issues around this. The sport is dangerous, and there is simply little the NFL can do to prove otherwise, yet many people like football...
  4. The general greed of the NFL league and owners has created longer seasons with pre-season games and now both Monday and Thursday night games that cut down on recovery time for players. There are currently 4 preseason games and 16 regular games, and if the team is 'lucky' they play in the post-season too. From 1947 through 1960, each NFL team played 12 games per season, which would have been easier on the body. But the number of games played has only grown. And then there's this crazy thing about teams being allowed 53 players on their roster, but on game day, they can only choose from 45 to play, and if there are significant injuries during the game the teams can actually run out of players at a particular position, but they are not allowed to pull from the 'extra' players. So what happens? The injured continue to play...

Last year, the NFL had an unprecedented amount of significant injuries, and also off-field criminal problems to deal with, and it definitely affected people's perceptions of the game. Fans want more football, but they are also complaining constantly about the quality of the games they see. This preseason and practice period seemed to end with more players injured than at any other time before. And that seems to be a general perception in NFL land. Fans want to see their favorite star players face off against one another, but what they see a lot these days are the replacements. And then they get to see the replacments get hurt...



#17 bart

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 04:02 PM

It's interesting to compare the arts in terms of the

 

'PERCENTAGE OF ADULTS ATTENDING THE PERFORMING ARTS EVENTS."

 

The rate of decline in arts participation for adults in the United States was most pronounced in theater attendance...

 

 

-- BALLET:   -- 2008:  2.9%.   -- 2012:  2.7%.

 

-- DANCE     -- 2008: 5.2%      -- 2012: 5.6%

 

-- OPERA:    -- 2008:  2.1%    -- 2012:  2.1%

 

-- CLASSICAL MUSIC.   -- 2008:  9.3%     -- 2012:  8.8%

 

-- JAZZ         -- 2008:  7.8%    -- 2012:  8.1%

 

-- MUSICAL THEATER    -- 2008: 16.7%     --2012: 15.2%

 

-- MOVIES   -- 2008:   53.3%    -- 2012 59.3%

 

Some surprises for me:

 

-- ballet is bigger than opera.   Possibly "theater attendance" includes all those ballet school recitals

 

-- only jazz, dance (non-ballet), and movies are growing.  (I thought movies weren't doing well.)

 

This period (2008-12) coincides with what is now being called the Great Recession by many, I suspect that the biggest factors behind this decline (all of which have been mentioned already on this thread) might be  (a) lack of funds, (b) lack of genuinely free time, © the disappearance of quite a few local companies, and possibly (d) stress levels that make chilling out in front of the tv, or at a popular movie, especially appealing.

 

The study was conducted by the Census Bureau, which interviewed 37,000 people, quite a large sample as these things go.



#18 volcanohunter

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 05:05 PM

-- ballet is bigger than opera.   Possibly "theater attendance" includes all those ballet school recitals

 

It shouldn't. The survey questions were prefaced with the statement "With the exception of elementary or high school performances..." I would guess this was intended to exclude school recitals in the respondent's mind.

http://arts.gov/site...nnaire-2012.pdf

 

It's entirely possible that ballet is more readily available, or more frequently available than opera. In many cities it's not unusual for opera companies to stage only three or four productions a year. If the local ballet company presents, let's say, five or six programs, this provides locals with more potential opportunities to attend. And opera tickets are frequently significantly more expensive than ballet tickets, which would also work against opera's popularity. Many cities with no opera or ballet company will nevertheless have a local symphony orchestra, making classical music concerts that much more available.

 

The reports on the audience survey of 2008 did not mention data on movie-going or general live music attendance. Perhaps the information is intended to provide context. For example, 15% attendance at musicals may not seem like much, but only 59% of Americans go to the movies, despite them being readily available nationwide. Fewer than 9% of Americans go to classical music concerts, but then only 31.6 % of adults go to see live music of any kind.



#19 yudi

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 07:38 PM

Ballet - 2008 2.9%, 2012 2.7%. (2.7percent, or 6.3 million adults.)  -- This quite surprised me! 

 

The population of Great Los Angeles area is about 18 million, 2.7% is 488,200. Almost a half of million people go to see ballet?!  The NEA Study probably just asked New Yorkers?

 

Few years ago, when I lived in L.A., it was very hard to find someone around me who's interested in ballet. I had pushed some of my friends to go to see ABT's Giselle. They loved it! "Its so beautiful!" But, they have never gone to another ballet since then. One day, one of my colleagues told me: "My wife would play cello for a ballet performance by Joffrey Ballet this Friday night, so I have got a free ticket. I am not interested in going. I would like to give it to you!" 

 

yahoo.gif



#20 Jayne

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 10:20 PM

What is the population that attends ballet performances in Great Britain?  Is it really higher than the US?  Russia has a long term love affair with ballet, but part of that is the feel-good PR that they have been spoonfed their whole lives, for multiple generations:  Russian ballet is the *best*, it is our national *pride*, (enter related phrases of exceptionalism - are you listening Vladimir Putin?)  

 

Americans weren't very interested in elite road racing until Greg Lemond came along, and even then it was just a tiny percentage.  But then Lance (Ph)Armstrong began winning, and he had a feel good cancer recovery story.  The same sense of pride and puffed up exceptionalism blinded most of us to the drug use.  This rah-rah nationalism also made ballet more popular in the 1970's.  ABT attracted the *best* defectors from the Kirov.  Balanchine preferred America over the Soviet Union.  

 

Europeans in general get to see more ballet on broadcast television than Americans, and those broadcasts are often subsidized by government funds.  I think this exposes the population to the ballet from cradle to grave, and so they are more likely to see ballet as normal and part of the local culture.  If you grow up African American, and you practically never see a "star" ballet dancer of the same skin color in the media, why would you be interested in the artform?  Particularly if most of the popular media portrays ballet dancers as snooty skinny white girls who need some rock and roll to shake them up

 

BET should broadcast performances of DToH, Lines Ballet and Alvin Ailey.  That would be a great platform to make ballet seem viable and part of the American arts fabric to a population that is historically underrepresented.   I'd also like to see the Spanish language TV companies broadcast performances of Latino American dancers.  Sadly the programming directors are not returning my phone calls.   



#21 sandik

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 12:19 PM

Incidentally, I remember a playbill for a fairly recent Ailey run at BAM that included an ad for New York City Ballet's season, which was running concurrently. I'd be genuinely curious to find out whether the advertising was effective in attracting Ailey patrons that hadn't been to City Ballet before. As far as I can recall, ABT did not try to target that audience.

 

I always encourage presenters to "co-promote" their events -- list other organizations in their programs, offer discounts to ticket holders from other performances, circulate joint promotional material to their mailing lists.  I haven't looked at the NEA study yet, but I know that the demographics of audiences are shifting much more than they have in the past -- artists and arts organizations need to be equally flexible.  This doesn't mean you have to change the art you make -- it means you have to change how you bring it to the attention of you audience.



#22 dirac

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 09:28 PM

African-Americans, like other oppressed groups, tend to be in the avant-garde. They usually set trends, they don't follow them, and  mainstream white audiences, chronically behind the curve, catch up later. By the time the whites are interested in large enough numbers, they've already moved on.

 

The reasons are surely complex, but I think part of the decline can be attributed to ticket prices and the fact that consumers need more of their household income for basic living expenses, so have less left over to spend on cultural events. Any thoughts?

 

 

Without having delved into the material, I'd guess that part of it is the non-recovery recovery. That wouldn't necessarily be too bad for orchestras, opera and ballet, heavily attended by the 1%, but I'd think other performing arts would be hurt. People working mandatory overtime and two jobs are pooped. And there are more attractive entertainment options at home and on your phone than ever before.



#23 Swanilda8

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:52 AM

 

-- ballet is bigger than opera.   Possibly "theater attendance" includes all those ballet school recitals

 

It shouldn't. The survey questions were prefaced with the statement "With the exception of elementary or high school performances..." I would guess this was intended to exclude school recitals in the respondent's mind.

http://arts.gov/site...nnaire-2012.pdf

 

 

I would imagine that most of the difference between opera and ballet is made up of Christmas trips to the Nutcracker.



#24 volcanohunter

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 06:04 PM

More data to mine:

http://arts.gov/news...ea-reports-arts

 

Apparently, 63% of arts attendees are there to experience "high-quality art" (only 63%?), while 73% go to socialize with their near and dear ones. 22% of non-attendees are put off by the prospect of going solo.

 

What do you think? Are arts organizations blind to the social aspects of arts participation?



#25 California

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 06:15 PM

 

What do you think? Are arts organizations blind to the social aspects of arts participation?

I think they are keenly aware of this. Ballet companies (and art museums) around the country all seem to be starting groups for the under-40 set. Along with performances, they have various social activities at local restaurants and bars that sound like mixers. I don't know how successful any of them are, but the companies are certainly trying.



#26 sandik

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 07:24 PM

A number of Seattle dance organizations (including the ballet) have established semi-social events that go along with performances -- they are working every angle they can find.

#27 Drew

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 07:25 PM

A number of Seattle dance organizations (including the ballet) have established semi-social events that go along with performances -- they are working every angle they can find.

I think Atlanta Ballet sometimes has dinner/social events keyed to ballet performances.



#28 volcanohunter

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 09:48 PM

I'm not going to assume that the companion-less would-be audience is necessarily young and single. The study suggests that among young adults, the unmarried and childless are the likeliest to attend arts events, which stands to reason since they probably have the most free time. It could be that some people are faced with an unwilling partner, and since women constitute a larger chunk of the arts audience across the board, I'm going to assume that they find themselves in this position more often than men.
 
Just the other day I gave a spare opera ticket to an older married woman. She was thrilled to go and loved it. She explained that she attends dramatic theater with her husband, but that he can't abide opera, so she never goes because, you guessed it, she has no opera buddy.

#29 Birdsall

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 09:20 AM

I have been attending opera much longer than ballet, and I used to be the "young person" (the hope for the future, I guess) that someone used to say, "Nice to see a young person at the opera!" That was in my 20s and 30s (half Asian so look even younger than I am, so even in my 30s I looked 20something). Now at 47 with salt and pepper hair nobody makes that comment anymore! LOL

 

But my generation of friends will ask me to take them to an opera or ballet once and for them it is an event, "Oh, I'm going to the opera with my opera friend tonight!" and they love it as a one time event,  but they never seem to want to go again despite saying how much they loved it. Yet they will spend HUNDREDS for a ticket to see Madonna or U2 or some other pop act. I just think that the U.S. culture is geared so heavily toward pop culture. I have given up trying to convert friends into opera or ballet lovers. I just go by myself (and even leave the partner home most times).

 

Anyway, from my personal experience among my friends I can't seem to find many people all that interested in ballet and opera. And that is why many of us come to forums like this to actually talk to people who hold similar interests. I really don't know why so many Americans have zero interest in opera and ballet nowadays. It is sad.



#30 Plisskin

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 10:39 AM

Unlike Russia, ballet and opera in America is seen as for only elite, rich, white people. And it is perpetuated by many patrons who attend. That's why it's unsurprising that people would rather go to a pop concert or the movies. It's seen as for everybody verses the few. Americans aren't that exposed to the arts like ballet and opera from a young age either, whether in school or in general media. In Russia you see numerous ballet and opera programs on television every year. We're lucky to get a DVD release every decade. PBS used to be the lone network in the U.S. to show ballet in the 70's and 80's but they've since stopped. Shocking this is not.




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