Many of you work tirelessly with donors and in your communities to dispel the notion that the audience for the arts is getting smaller. All too often that perception is out there, highlighted either without data or based on hearsay, or an article or blog post based largely on individual perception. Making this situation worse is that ours is unlike many other industries, in that there are few independent third-party sources that collect data and track the overall economic performance of our field.
That’s why I was pleased last month to come across the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report with economic data covering the years 1998-2013. Though the data is three years old, it’s directionally very helpful.
The definitions in the report are broader than we typically would use to measure our own industry (this report includes data for music, theatre, opera, circus, ice-skating, and magic shows), but the one aspect of the report that is most germane is that consumer spending on the performing arts grew 10 percent annually over the 15-year period.Read the Article