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Alan R. Andreasen 

Research Division Report #24 

National Endowment for the Arts 

Expanding the Audience 
For the Performing Arts 

Expanding the Audience 
For the Performing Arts 

Alan R. Andreasen 

Research Division Report # 24 
National Endowment for the Arts 

Seven Locks Press 

Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts is Report #24 in a series 
on matters of interest to the arts community commissioned by the Re- 
search Division of the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Andreasen, Alan R., 1934- 

Expanding the audience for the performing arts / by Alan R. Andreasen 

p. 53 cm. — (Research Division report; #24) 

Includes bibliographical references. 


1. Performing arts — United States — Audiences. 2. Performing arts — 
United States — Marketing. I. Tide. II. Series: Research Division report 
(National Endowment for the Arts, Research Division); 24. 
PN2226.A53 1991 

791'.06 , 980973— dc20 90-23150 


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works on social, political and cultural issues. It takes its name from a 
series of lift locks on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal 

For more information or a catalog: 

Seven Locks Press 
P.O. Box 27 
Cabin John, MD 20818 
(301) 320-2130 

Table of Contents 




Childhood S ocialization 1 

Adult Socialization in the Arts 1 1 

Life- style 12 

General Leisure Activities 12 

Work Status 13 

Family Life Cycle 13 

Other Socioeconomic Characteristics 14 

Barriers to Attendance 14 


Childhood Socialization 17 

Adult Socialization 17 

Life- style 18 

Work and Television Viewing 23 

Age and the Family Life Cycle 24 

Socioeconomic and Background Characteristics 26 

Barriers 28 

Arts Attended and Arts Sought 30 

Summary 32 

Discriminant Analysis 34 


Recommendations for Performing Arts Managers 39 
Insights from the Performing Arts Adoption 

Process Model 40 

Empirical Insights 40 

Research Recommendations 45 


APPENDIX A: Candidate Variables for Discriminant Analysis 52 

About the Author 53 



Organizations involved in producing or funding the performing arts have 
been heartened by evidence of the growing popularity of their offerings. This 
is reflected in steadily growing attendance at opera and symphony concerts 
and at legitimate theater, especially regional theater, since 1970. 1 Undoub- 
tedly, performing arts organizations have benefitted from a long-term im- 
provement in the socioeconomic status of the general population, since 
attendance at these types of events is closely correlated with income, educa- 
tion and occupation. 2 

It is equally clear, however, that the recent growth in attendance can be 
at least partly attributed to carefully planned interventions by arts organiza- 
tions. These have been both indirect and direct. Indirect interventions have 
included the proliferation of programming of the arts on television, the 
increased availability of videocassettes of arts performances, formation of 
cable television arts networks, and dramatically increased quality of recorded 
music reproduction (e.g. compact disks). Direct interventions have included 
audience-building marketing efforts such as imaginative advertising, com- 
plicated and enticing subscription programs, ticket-selling booths in places 
such as shopping malls and railroad stations, telemarketing, informative 
preprogram lectures, and shirtsleeve performances. 

In the present political and economic environment, producers and sup- 
porters of the performing arts face rapidly mounting pressures to expand 
audiences for their performances. Since this is essentially a marketing 
problem, arts managers have increasingly turned to the marketing literature 
for help. Unfortunately, the manager is likely to find that, with very few 
exceptions, the literature is extremely sparse and often not very useful. 

Stated very simply, arts managers who wish to build an arts audience 
have at their disposal a number of marketing instruments that can be used at 
some level of cost to achieve audience development goals. These instruments 
include marketing's traditional "four Ps," product, price, promotion, and 
place of offering, plus other tools such as public relations. The manager 
typically would like help with four kinds of decisions: 

1. How to segment the market into mutually exclusive target populations 
that can be the focus of one or more marketing interventions; 

2. How much to allocate to marketing effort in each segment, including no 

Alan R. Andreasen 

3. On what to expend marketing effort (e.g. reducing price, increasing 
advertising, changing the offer); and 

4. When to approach a segment with a particular strategy. 

The question of when to approach particular market segments has re- 
ceived inadequate attention in the marketing literature. It is possible, however 
that at any point, consumers will vary in their readiness-to-change with 
respect to any particular behavior, such as attendance at the performing arts. 
Further, different consumers at a given stage of "readiness," or at different 
stages of readiness, may vary in the kinds of interventions they will respond 
to. 3 

If a marketer is to be effective and cost-efficient in using resources to 
develop markets, it is essential to learn more about which consumers are 
ready for which kind of intervention to change their behavior. The need to 
be more effective and cost-efficient is especially serious in the performing 
arts wheie budgets are extremely limited. Research that helps arts managers 
understand how and when to approach particular segments of the market 
would be valuable. 

If marketers are to change consumer behavior with respect to performing 
arts attendance, they must understand more about the process by which 
people come to attend performances. It is quite obvious that people do not 
become deeply involved in the performing arts overnight; it is a gradual 
process. Some become very active and committed, some only marginally 
active, and the majority not involved at all. Thus, when we speak of 
consumers' readiness-to-change, we are really talking about consumers' 
readiness to become more committed to attending the performing arts. 

Given this framing of the issue, the difficulty one faces in making 
recommendations for the future development of arts audiences is that we do 
not have any clear understanding, conceptually or empirically, of that process 
by which someone becomes a committed, involved arts attender. 

The present paper represents an attempt to provide a beginning under- 
standing of that process. It outlines a hierarchical model of the audience 
development process and then utilizes a set of secondary cross-sectional data 
to begin to understand the transitions a consumer makes from being un- 
interested to being highly committed to the arts. The paper describes con- 
sumers at various stages in this process, attempts to learn what seems most 
related to transitions between stages, and then makes recommendations for 
both managerial action and further research based on the model and the 
study's primary findings. 

Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

Individuals do not become members of the audience for the performing 
arts by chance. Attendance is the result of a developmental process by which 
each individual progresses from a lack of awareness and interest through 
several stages of consistent, growing involvement, eventually becoming an 
active participant. 

Although participation in the arts may comprise many other things 
besides attendance — performing, or working backstage, enjoying the arts 
through other media such as books, radio, recordings, and television — here 
we are considering only attendance at live performances. Indeed, other kinds 
of participation may be complements or substitutes for live attendance. 

Each individual's progression towards deeper commitment to perform- 
ing arts attendance can be described in terms of two measures: interest and 
attendance. Further, it can be assumed that those who are now the most 
actively committed to arts attendance once upon a time were uninvolved and 
disinterested. For some, involvement and interest in the arts started very early 
in life. For others, it started later. And, of course, for the majority of 
Americans, interest and involvement has never grown or has grown very 

Both interest and attendance can be thought of as a hierarchy with a great 
many potential positions that can be occupied over a lifetime. There is a 
substantial body of literature in the social sciences that suggests that, in 
acquiring any new behavior, individuals pass through a number of definable 
stages. These steps are often referred to as the "adoption process." 4 Adapting 
this approach to the present case permits one to postulate// ve major transition 
points across six stages as individuals progress from lack of interest and 
involvement to active participation and interest in the performing arts. The 
six stages outlined in Figure 1 are given labels borrowed directly from the 
adoption literature. The transition points may be described as follows: 

1. Changing from being a nonattender and disinterested to first becoming 
interested in attendance, that is, moving from Stage I, Disinterest, to 
Stage II, Interest; 

2. Changing from being merely interested in the arts to attending a first arts 
event, that is, moving from Interest to Stage III, Trial; 

3. Changing from attending a first arts event to being interested in further 
attendance, that is, moving from Trial to Stage IV, Positive Evaluation; 

4. Changing from being merely interested in further attendance to attending 

Alan R. Andreasen 










Figure 1. The Performing Arts Adoption Process 

many events, that is, moving from Positive Evaluation to Stage V, 
5. Changing from attending many performing arts events to also being 
interested in attending many more, that is, moving from mere adoption 
to Stage VI, Confirmation. 

This adapted hierarchical model will be called the performing arts 
adoption process. 

The model is, of course, an idealized progression. It is not expected that 
individuals will progress neatly through all six stages to reach the end point. 
Because of changes in circumstances, individuals who have passed to a 
relatively advanced stage may regress to an earlier stage before moving on 
to the next stage. Some may move through most of the stages and then decide 

Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

to reverse the process and permanently reduce their attendance. It is also 
possible that some individuals will skip some stages, or simply stop at some 
point and progress no farther. 

An opportunity to understand the performing arts adoption process is 
offered by the availability of data from the 1982 Survey of Public Participa- 
tion in the Arts (SPPA). 5 The study was prepared and administered to a 
nationwide sample of adult Americans by the Bureau of the Census. It 
contains information on involvement in various aspects of the arts, both 
directly and through the media, and detailed background information on 
each household, including standard demographics and several dimensions 
of household life- style. 

The present paper represents a new analysis of the SPPA data to answer 
four related questions: 

1 . What characteristics describe individuals at each of the six stages of the 
performing arts adoption process? 

2. What characteristics discriminate between those individuals occupying 
adjacent stages in the performing arts adoption process? 

3. What do these discriminating variables explain about the process by 
which an individual moves from one stage to the next? 

4. What do these findings recommend to those managers seeking to expand 
audiences for the performing arts? 

Implicit in the conceptualization underlying the present analysis are three 
theoretical assumptions: 

(a) Audience development is best facilitated by recognizing that target 
consumers are at different stages with respect to progression from 
complete disinterest to extensive involvement; 

(b) The performing arts adoption process is a reasonable specification of the 
stages and the sequence of progression; and 

(c) The most reasonable objective for audience development is to move each 
segment to the next stage rather than to move each segment directly to 
the stage of greatest involvement. 

The variables used to describe and explain progression through the 
performing arts adoption process are those measured or approximated by the 
data in the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. The set of variables 
explored here is based on the notion that increased attendance is likely to 
occur if: 

Alan R. Andreasen 

1. The individual has somehow learned to appreciate the performing arts; 

2. The individual has a life-style that includes or is compatible with 
attending the performing arts; 

3. The individual does not satisfy the need for entertainment entirely from 
other media; 

4. The individual is not yet satiated with attendance; and/or 

5. The individual does not perceive major barriers to increased attendance. 

Each major variable will, in turn, be affected by other factors. For 
example, learning to appreciate the arts can take place early in life, and this 
is presumably affected by whether one's parents were well educated and/or 
participated in the arts themselves. Further, whether an individual perceives 
certain barriers as important impediments to further attendance will be a 
function of such factors as income and marital and family status. 

Some of the variables to be explored here are at least partially controllable 
by arts managers; most are not. Some, such as eliminating specific barriers, 
are controllable in the short run. Others, such as introducing more people to 
the arts at an earlier age, are only "controllable" in the long run. 

The focus here is limited to attendance at six performing arts activities: 
jazz, classical music, opera, musical plays, ballet, and legitimate theater. We 
are explicitly not considering other arts attendance such as visits to museums. 
There are several reasons for making this distinction. The most basic reason 
is that these six live performing arts are assumed to be part of the same 
market: They involve being entertained by the performances of live human 
beings, they are almost never free, and they typically involve considerable 
preplanning and additional expenses for babysitting, dinner, transportation 
and the like. 6 Finally and most importantly, these art forms are usually seen 
as substitutes for each other. 7 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

The basic model for expanding the audience for the performing arts rests 
on a simple premise: becoming involved in the arts is not a one-step process, 
but is a progression through six stages called the "performing arts adoption 
process." Although the model appeals to common sense, it should not 
become the basis for policy or action unless it has been tested further with 
other databases and other methodologies. One could argue that the model 
conforms to the "reality" of this database. What one needs is a different 
approach to validate the "stages" and the basic notion of "progression." 

To test the model and explore its implications, data from the Survey of 
Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) are used. The database consisted of 
responses from 2,678 persons who were surveyed during the months of 
November and December 1982. Two changes were made in this database. 
Potential target members who could not advance along the performing arts 
adoption process either because of ill health or a handicap were excluded 
from the analysis. Excluding these 69 respondents and two others for whom 
there was incomplete data brought the final sample size to 2,607. 

Another group of 370 respondents could not advance along the hierarchy 
because a specific art form was unavailable where they lived. These in- 
dividuals were retained in the sample, but their responses about the unavail- 
able art form are excluded. 

This revised sample is assumed to be representative of the U.S. adult 
population. Although the responses contain random "noise" due to question- 
naire design, administration, and tabulation, there is no systematic bias 

The SPPA surveyed individuals at one point in time at a specific stage in 
the performing arts adoption process. Assuming that these individuals have 
moved there from the preceding stage allows us to explain transitions by 
assuming that those in an earlier stage will move to the next stage //"they 
adopt certain characteristics that distinguish them from those in the next 
group. As noted earlier, it is recognized that this is a major assumption and 
that it is very likely that some members in each of the six categories may 
have "moved" there from several stages away or from a later rather than an 
earlier stage. A true test of the model must await the existence of tracking 
data on the same households at several points over time. 

The first task in the present analysis was to categorize respondents into 
the six stages of the performing arts adoption process. After excluding cases 

Alan R. Andreasen 

where art forms were unavailable, respondents were categorized into the six 
stages as follows: 

I. DISINTEREST: Has not attended any of the six performing arts forms 
in the last twelve months and is not interested in attending; 

II. INTEREST: Has not attended any of the six performing arts forms in the 
last twelve months but is interested in attending; 

IE. TRIAL: Has attended one performance of one or more of the six 
performing arts forms in the last twelve months and is not interested in 
attending more often; 

IV. POSITIVE EVALUATION: Has attended one performance of one or 
more of the six performing arts forms in the last twelve months and is 
interested in attending more often; 

V. ADOPTION: Has attended two or more performances of one or more of 
the six performing arts forms in the last twelve months but is not 
interested in attending more often; 

VI. CONFIRMATION: Has attended two or more performances of one or 
more of the six performing arts forms in the last twelve months and is 
interested in attending more often. 

Since the six performing arts are assumed to be substitutes for each other, 
increased attendance can be measured both as more attendance at the same 
performing arts form or as attendance at several different arts forms. This 
assumption is consistent with initial analyses of this database by Robinson 
et al., where they found high correlations among the six performing arts 
forms. It is also assumed that the lack of interest in attending more often on 
the part of individuals assigned to the Trial stage is temporary and not 
evidence of a negative trial experience. 

Table 1 shows the distribution of the entire sample across the six stages. 
Approximately one half of the sample is in Stage I, Disinterest. Many of those 
at this stage, probably the majority, are unlikely to progress to the next stage 
because those in Stage I are very much unlike those in any other stage. 

Table 1 indicates that a further one-fifth of the sample has only progressed 
to Stage II, Interest. Thus, 70 percent of the sample was found to be at the 
very beginning stages of the performing arts adoption process. While this 
may seem discouraging at first glance, the fact that 22 percent of the sample 
is at Stage II suggests a significant untapped potential among nonattenders. 

The individuals who comprise the remaining 30 percent of the sample 
have attended at least one event in the past twelve months. One-half of them 


Table 1 
Sample Distribution Across Stages of the Performing 

Arts Adoption Model 

Stage in Process 



I. Disinterest 



II. Interest 



III. Trial 



IV. Positive evaluation 



V. Adoption 



VI. Confirmation 






have only attended a single event while the others have already attended two 
or more in the last year. 

Before moving to an analysis of each stage and the transitions between 
them, one must ask whether the data offer general empirical support for the 
validity of the model, the performing arts adoption process. The model has 
face validity in that it describes a logical progression based on common sense, 
the experience of those in the field, and conceptualizations and findings of 
those in other social science fields. But does the model predict relationships 
that do in fact appear in the data? 

Three sets of associations are offered as predictive support. In the 
literature on performing arts attendance and in the initial analysis of both the 
1982 and 1985 SPPA, researchers have found that participation in the 
performing arts is positively associated with (a) education, (b) participation 
in a wide range of other activities (referred to as the "more-more" phe- 
nomenon) and (c) consumption of the arts through other media. 8 If the present 
model meets the test of predictive validity, there should be systematic 
increases in levels of education, general activity and arts media consumption 
measures from one stage to the next. 

Table 2 shows that the model meets this test of predictive validity. Table 
2 reports data on average years of education and the percent attending college 
for individuals at each stage of the process. It also records two measures of 
activity: the average number of different out-of-home activities in which 
those at each stage participated, and the average number of total activities 
including at-home activities, hobbies and crafts, and working backstage on 

Table 2 

Education, Leisure Activity, and Media 

Participation by Stage in Model 

Mean Number 



of Art Activities 

Years of 


Stage in Process 





Via media 

1. Disinterest 






II. Interest 






III. Trial 






IV. Positive evaluation 






V. Adoption 






VI. Confirmation 


' 74.3% 




the arts (see Table 5 for listing of out-of-home and in-home activities). 
Finally, it shows the average number of other media used to appreciate the 
arts. In each case, the progression from Stage I to Stage VI is systematic, 
linear and continuous, although the transitions between each stage are not 
always statistically significant. 

In the present analysis it is assumed that an individual's present stage in 
the performing arts adoption process is a function of seven sets of variables: 
childhood socialization, adult socialization, life-style, work status, family life 
cycle, barriers to participation, and other socioeconomic characteristics such 
as race, sex, and income. 

Childhood Socialization 

The stage of a sample member at the time of the study is strongly 
influenced by his or her early exposure to the arts. Several studies have found 
that this is, indeed, an important predictor of attendance at the performing 
arts. 9 This exposure could come about in one of two ways. First, individuals 
could have parents who encouraged them to take an interest in attending the 
arts. In the SPPA, two questions explored this factor. First, respondents were 
asked whether, when they were growing up, parents or other adult members 
of the household listened to classical music or opera, or took the respondent 
to plays, dance, or classical music performances. Respondents were asked 
whether this happened never, occasionally or often. For the present analysis, 
an "early encouragement index" was constructed by weighting answers of 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

"often" twice as much as answers of "occasionally." Thus, this index could 
range from zero to four. 

Second, individuals could have been encouraged by their parents to 
attend classes in an art form. In the SPPA, respondents were asked whether 
they took lessons or classes in four categories: music (either voice training 
or playing an instrument), acting or theater, ballet, or music appreciation. 
These questions were asked for four age ranges: under 12, 12 to 17, 18 to 24 
and 25 or older. A "childhood arts education index" was constructed by 
counting how often an individual reported having had classes in each of the 
four categories in each of the two age groupings under 18. Thus, an indi- 
vidual's "childhood arts education index" score could range from zero to 

In addition to these two indexes, we shall also observe the proportion of 
respondents at each stage who were both encouraged by adults to participate 
in the arts and given classes as a child. 

Adult Socialization in the Arts 

It is also possible that individuals will develop or extend an interest in 
the arts as adults. Many individuals obtain their first exposure to the perform- 
ing arts in college either through direct exposure or through the influence of 
fellow students. To assess this possibility a dichotomous variable for atten- 
dance at college was created, i.e. whether a given respondent did or did not 
attend college. 

There are two other possibilities for adult socialization. First, adults could 
take the same kinds of classes they took (or could have taken) as a child. 
Second, they could be exposed to the performing arts on radio, television, or 

To permit analysis of these factors, an "adult arts education index" was 
constructed in the same manner as the childhood arts education index 
discussed earlier, with values ranging from zero to four. In addition, a 
dichotomous measure of whether a respondent had any adult education in 
the arts was also constructed. For the three electronic media, separate indexes 
were constructed for exposure to arts such as jazz, classical music, opera, 
musical stage plays or operettas, nonmusical stage plays, and ballet on 
television (range of the index is zero to six), radio (range of the index is zero 
to five) and records or tapes (range of the index is zero to four). 

The problem with adult classes and media exposure, however, is that they 
may be an effect of attendance at live performances rather than a cause. 


Alan R. Andreasen 

Further, it may be that exposure in other media could be a substitute for live 


General Leisure Activities 

Interest and participation in the arts do not occur in isolation. It is part of 
an overall "life-style" which, in the marketing literature, is typically meas- 
ured by an individual's activities, interests, and opinions. These are some- 
times called AIO measures. 10 Bureau of Census interviewers took measures 
on a number of life-style dimensions. One set of 14 questions asked about 
general leisure activities. Respondents were asked whether in the previous 
twelve months they had: 

1. Attended movies, sports events, zoos or gardens, or amusement parks; 

2. Pursued hobbies such as games, collecting, preparing special meals or 

3. Engaged in physical activities such as exercising or jogging, playing 
sports, or camping; 

4. Read books, magazines, or novels; 

5. Did volunteer work; and/or 

6. Worked on home improvements or vehicle repairs. 

In addition, the SPPA asked respondents to indicate how many hours 
they watched television (presumably in their leisure time) "on an average 

A second set of questions asked about activities of a "cultural" nature 
other than attendance at the six types of art forms that are the major focus of 
this analysis. Respondents were asked whether they had: 

1. Visited an art museum, a science museum, a historic site, or an arts and 
crafts fair; 

2. Read or listened to poetry; 

3. Undertaken arts and crafts activities; 

4. Worked behind the scenes at performing- arts performances; and/or 

5. Engaged in creative writing. 

Because it is essential to understand whether particular individual ac- 
tivities show up as important to consumers presently at specific stages of the 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

process, each activity is analyzed separately. 11 Understanding the activities 
that are more often associated with a particular stage may help to round out 
our understanding of the people who are currently there. 

Once this analysis of individual activities is completed, we will turn our 
attention to general summary indexes of the activities based principally on 
logic and preliminary analyses of the data. 

Work Status 

A second important dimension of one's life-style is work status; that is, 
whether a respondent works and, if so, in what type of occupation and for 
how many hours a week. It is particularly important to know how many 
hours an individual works, because this will indicate the amount of leisure 
time available for activities such as attending the performing arts. Further, 
certain occupations might encourage or "require" such attendance. It is 
assumed that professional or managerial occupations fit this category. The 
present analysis, therefore, explicitly includes each respondent's total num- 
ber of working hours and whether the respondent was in a managerial or 
professional occupation. 

Family Life Cycle 

An individual's life-style is inextricably linked to family status. Engaging 
in certain leisure activities (or avoiding them) will often be determined by 
whether one is young and single, has children living at home, or is elderly 
and retired. One study has noted: 

From the point of view of consumption, there are several other 
factors that vary systematically as the individual progresses 
through such a life cycle. Besides age and income, the individual's 
needs and tastes change. Responsibilities for other family members 
change with the size of the family and the self-sufficiency of its 
members, and there are systematic changes in accumulated ex- 
perience, accumulated and desired durable goods, and accumu- 
lated savings and other liquid assets. Finally, when children and 
spouse are present, their needs, preferences and abilities are also 
changing as is the pattern of interaction for the family as a whole. 12 

A substantial number of studies in the marketing literature have con- 
firmed this point. 13 


Alan R. Andreasen 

In the present analysis, individuals were categorized into six life-cycle 
groupings based on age, marital status, and whether they have children and 
the ages of children as follows (percentages of total sample indicated in 

I. Young and single. Divorced or never married and under 35 years of age 

II. Young, married and no children (6.5%). 

HI. Young children at home. Married, single, or divorced with one or more 
children under 6 years of age (18.5%). 

IV. Older children. Married, single or divorced with children, none of whom 
is under 6 years of age (21.4%). 

V. Older, no children. Age between 35 and 64 and no children (26.5%). 

VI. Elderly. Age 65 and older (14.9%). . 

Other Socioeconomic Characteristics 

There are a number of other socioeconomic characteristics in addition to 
education, occupation and family life cycle that may be related to arts 
attendance. 14 

Among them are income, race, place of residence (specifically, whether 
the individual resides in a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area or not), 
household size, and gender. Several of these may be related to a respondent's 
stage in the performing arts adoption process. However, an earlier study by 
Andreasen and Belk found that, while socioeconomic characteristics were 
related to performing arts attendance, this relationship was mainly due to 
their also being correlated with such factors as life-style and early socializa- 
tion in the arts, although the latter could also be related to socioeconomic 
status. In a multivariate analysis, life-style and early socialization were 
shown to be much more important determinants of attendance. 15 

Barriers to Attendance 

Individuals in Stages n, IV and VI of the performing arts adoption 
process expressed interest in attending the arts more often, but are not doing 
so. In such cases, SPPA interviewers asked their reasons for not attending. 
In addition to illness or unavailability of an art form, a great many other 
reasons were indicated by respondents. Five predominated and will be used 
in the present analysis. These are: cost, lack of time, problems associated 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

with travel ("too far to go" or "transportation/traffic/parking problems"), 
personal barriers ("feel uncomfortable," "don't have anyone to go with," 
"babysitter problems/must care for children," or "crime or fear of crime") 
and lack of motivation. 16 

A Note on Statistical Significance 

Classical statistics recommends stringent criteria when reporting something as 
"significant." Typically, this means that something should be ignored if the chance 
of a particular finding really being non-significant is greater than five percent. Several 
of the findings reported here meet this criterion. Since this is an exploratory study, 
we have adopted less stringent tests for reporting some of the data, namely that the 
chance of being wrong is no greater than ten percent. Since there is a very small 
base of research in this area that is useful to marketers, we decided to let the data 
reveal as much suggestive material as possible by allowing a 10% chance of error. 
In general, the narrative does not distinguish between findings that meet the stricter 
test; however, the tables clearly report significance levels for those readers who wish 
to reinterpret the findings using narrower tolerances. 


Alan R. Andreasen 


The data on the characteristics of respondents at different stages of the 
performing arts adoption process reveal one dramatic, persistent pattern that 
affects both our conclusions and the manner in which the analyses proceed. 
As seen in Tables 3 through 9, respondents in Stage I, those disinterested and 
not attending the arts, are dramatically different from those in the other five 
stages. For example, they are much less likely to have been exposed to the 
arts as children or to have attended college. They are significantly less likely 
to be exposed to the performing arts in other media such as radio, television, 
or tapes and records, to take classes in the arts, or to engage in related crafts 
and, in point of fact, they are less likely to engage in any of the activities 
measured in this study. 

It is very clear that the distance between those at Stage I and those in 
Stages II through VI of the performing arts adoption process is not just 
significant. It represents a chasm. The size of this gulf implies that those in 
Stage I are the least ready of any of the six groups to change their involvement 

Table 3 

Selected Measures of Childhood Socialization 

in the Arts by Stage in Model 


Dis- Positive 

Childhood Socialization Measure interested Interested Trial Evaluation Adoption Confirmation 

Early encouragement index 


.80 f 


1.06 f 

1.46 f 


Child arts education index 


.89 T 




1.69 f 

Total socialization index 


1.69 f 


2.21 f 


3.1 1 + 

Any parental encouragement 







Any classes as child 


62.7% r 





Parental encouragement 


AND classes 


34.9% T 





Parental encouragement 


OR classes 


75.8% T 





Attended college 


39.7% f 





Mean years of education 


12.7 f 



14.2 1 " 


"^Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .05 level of significance or 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

in the arts. Attempts to move consumers across the chasm are likely to be 
very expensive and not very successful. 

Because those in Stage I represent a market segment that from an 
efficiency standpoint should be of lesser interest to performing arts managers, 
our focus in the analyses to follow is primarily on the remaining five stages. 
This is not to say that some managers might not justifiably choose, from a 
cultural equity standpoint, to pursue efforts to reach those in Stage I, only 
that it would be less efficient and is not the focus of this paper. 

Childhood Socialization 

It was hypothesized that an adult's present status in the performing arts 
adoption process will be strongly influenced by socialization in the arts as a 
child. Table 3 indicates two important patterns with respect to the last five 
stages of the performing arts adoption process. First, there is a clear increase 
in the amount of childhood socialization between people at Stage II and those 
at Stage VI, but childhood socialization apparently becomes important only 
when one moves beyond the trial stage. Early childhood socialization appears 
to have the important effect of producing individuals who quickly become 
interested in the performing arts, moving quickly to an interest in attending 
two or more events (Stage IV) or actually doing so (Stages V and VI). 

Adult Socialization 

Table 4 reports data on the extent to which stages in the performing arts 
adoption process are associated with a college education and being involved 
in the performing arts in some other form, either through taking classes or 
through exposure in other media. It shows that all of the measures increase 
as one moves forward in the performing arts adoption process. 

It is reasonable to conclude that a college education speeds one along the 
process. However, with respect to adult classes and consumption through 
other media, it is not possible to conclude from cross-sectional data whether 
the positive relationships represent cause, effect, or simultaneity. With 
respect to consuming the arts through other media, the data do permit us to 
conclude that this is not a substitute for attendance at live performances. 
Table 4 also indicates that consumption through the media increases dramati- 
cally at Stage IV, the point at which consumers positively evaluate the 
performing arts. Thus it seems reasonable to speculate that increased media 
consumption may be a part of a pattern of generally increased interest in the 
performing arts rather than a cause or effect. 


Table 4: Selected Measures 
of Adult Socialization in the Performing Arts 

by Stage in Model 


Dis- Positive 

Adult Socialization Measure interested Interested Trial Evaluation Adoption Confirmation 

Adult arts education index .11 .31* .41 .49 .73* .92 

Percent taking classes 

as adult 13.7% 36.3%* 38.4% 45.9% 54.1% 72.6%* 

Number of art activities 
via media: 

radio .18 .59* .54 .68 .99* 1.26 

records/tapes .18 .57* .59 .89* 1.07 1.58* 

television .43 1.28* 1.38 1.89* 2.34* 2.68 

Total, all media .79 2.44* 2.51 3.46* 4.40* 5.53* 

"•"Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .05 level of significance or 

The data on adult classes show a different but understandable pattern. 
Consumption does not dramatically increase until consumers are actually 
attending multiple events rather than just being interested in doing so (i.e., 
Stage V). Taking classes, like attending performances, requires a commit- 
ment of time and effort. Increasing both at the same point would seem 
perfectly consistent. On the other hand, increasing one's interest (Stage IV) 
is a relatively passive step forward, not requiring a change in behavior. 
Furthermore, one may expect to find significant increases in exposure to the 
arts via the media at this stage because that, too, requires very little effort and 
commitment. This is, indeed, the case. 


The data in Table 5 report the proportion of those at each of the six stages 
of the performing arts adoption process engaging in 30 different activities 
within the last twelve months. Table 6 then summarizes these data into five 
indexes and an overall "general activity" measure for the sample. These 
groupings are based on logical considerations and preliminary analyses of 
the data rather than factor analyses. 17 


Table 5: Percentage Engaged in Leisure Activities 

by Stage in Model 






IV V VI Number 

Positive Reporting 

Evaluation Adoption Confirmation Activity 

Out-of-home Individual 

Go to movies 48.3% 

Go to sports 36.6% 

Camp/hike 29.8% 

Play sports 27.5% 

Exercise, jog 37.8% 

Do charity work 18.2% 

Out-of-home Family 

Visit art museum 6.7% 

Visit science museum 1 0.4% 

Visit historic site 21.7% 

Visit art fair 24.4% 

Visit amusement park 40.0% 

Visit zoo 21.3% 










52.3%' 57.6% 


44.2% t 

46.5%' 55.2% 



20.4%* 35.5%* 
24.7%* 29.1% 
43.5% f 52.6%* 


54.7% f 



57.8%* 62.8% 71.7%* 
























Do crafts 

Do needlecrafts 

Paint, sculpt 

Write poems, stories 

Take art class 

Do photography 

Play musical instrument 

Act, sing, dance 


Play games 

Read books, magazines 

Read novels, poetry 

Collect stamps, coins 

Cook gourmet meals 

Repair home, vehicle 


Read, listen to poetry 


Music, play, ballet 

Jazz, classical performance 




12.3% f 



















21.6% + 24.4% 

































"^Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .05 
better; ^Significantly different from the preceding stage at the 
or better. 

level of significance or 
.10 level of significance 


Table 6 
Indexes of Leisure Activities by Stage in Model 
















Out-of-home, individual 


2.94 f 

3.38 1 




Out-of-home, family 


2.33 f 

2.73 t 



3.81 f 



1.03 T 



1.64 1 




3.40 1 " 

3.66 f 

3.89 f 





.02 f 

.06 f 




All activities 


10.32 1 " 

11.62 f 




"^Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .05 level of significance or 


^Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .10 level of significance or 


Tables 5 and 6 share the pattern found in earlier findings in that the level 
of activity in all categories is higher at Stage II than at Stage I. On the other 
hand, the pattern of differences across the other five stages varies consider- 
ably across the 30 activity categories reported in Table 5. 

In three cases, there are no clear conclusions that can be drawn because 
there are too few participants in Stages II through VI to permit statistically 
valid conclusions: working backstage at jazz or classical performances, 
playing a musical instrument, and acting, singing or dancing. In the remain- 
ing 27 categories, three patterns appear: 

1. In seven cases there are some statistically significant differences in 
selected transitions, but the overall pattern appears to be one where there 
are not major differences across the five stages. These seven activities 

visiting amusement parks, 
doing crafts, 
doing needlecrafts, 
playing games at home, 
reading books or magazines, 
repairing home or vehicles, and 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

Six of the seven activities are usually carried out around the home, and 
in five cases they are done alone. 

2. In three cases there is a significant increase between Stage II and Stage 
VI. However, the increase appears to be gradual. These three categories 

• going to sporting events, 

• visiting science museums, and 

• doing photography. 

3. In the remaining 16 categories there are increases between Stage II and 
Stage VI. However, the stage at which respondents demonstrate a 
marked increase in commitment to the activity varies considerably. 
There are ten cases in which there is a significant increase in activity at 
the Trial Stage (Stage III). These are: 

going to the movies, 

camping and hiking, 

playing sports, 

doing charity work, 

visiting art museums, 

visiting historic sites, 

visiting art fairs, 

collecting stamps and coins, 

gardening, and 

working backstage at musicals, plays, opera or the ballet. 

It should be noted that eight out of these ten categories involve getting 
out of the home and doing something active. It would appear that moving 
to the trial stage is strongly associated with a willingness to spend leisure 
time out of the home. Since those in Stage III have attended only one 
event in an arts category in the previous year and have not expressed an 
interest in greater attendance, the performing arts may play a relatively 
minor role in these activities. Those in Stage III are outgoing, and one of 
the things they do when going out is attend the performing arts. 

There are seven cases where activity increases at Stage IV (Positive 
Evaluation), the stage at which consumers have tried the arts and are 
interested in attending more. These activities are: 

• exercising and jogging, 

• visiting zoos, 


Alan R. Andreasen 

reading or listening to poetry, 
playing games at home, 
reading books or magazines, 
reading novels or poetry, and 
cooking gourmet meals. 

Five of these activities are clearly home-centered, and exercising/jog- 
ging may also be done at home. This raises the possibility that those who 
have tried the arts and want to attend more often are held back because 
their home-centered life-styles have "forced" them to. The most obvious 
reason for this would be the presence of children at home. 

Six activities appear to increase at Stage V (Adoption), the point at 
which consumers begin to go to the performing arts relatively frequently 
but express no interest in going more often. The six activities are: 

doing charity work, 

painting or sculpting, 

writing poems or stories, 

taking arts classes, 

reading or listening to poetry, and 

repairing home or vehicles. 

Four of these activities reflect a commitment to arts activities done 
alone. It may be that those who have reached this stage have, in effect, 
fashioned a life-style that encompasses a multifaceted active arts life of 
which attendance at multiple events is simply one part. 

At Stage VI (Confirmation), five activities significantly increase. 
These are: 

visiting art museums, 
visiting historic sites, 
visiting art fairs, 
visiting zoos, and 
reading novels and poetry. 

The first four of these are family-oriented activities. This last stage 
apparently includes two kinds of people: those who are generally excited 
about the arts and those whose expressed desire to attend more often is 
simply a reflection of that excitement, and those whose desire to attend 
more may be an expression of frustration that other things in their lives 
(e.g. family commitments) may be keeping them from doing so. If this 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

is the case, only the former can be tapped by the arts community for 
increased attendance. 

The summary indexes of activities reported in Table 6 clearly illustrate 
the above patterns. The Trial stage reflects increased activity more or less 
across the board. The stage of Positive Evaluation shows an increase in 
in-home activities; Adoption, an increase in creative activities; and Confir- 
mation, an increase in out-of-home, family activities. These broader indexes 
appear to add little to the richness provided by the individual-level analysis. 

Work and Television Viewing 

It might be hypothesized that work and television viewing would compete 
with attendance at the performing arts. The more one works, the less time one 
would have for any kind of leisure activity, including attending the performing 
arts. In addition, the more one watched television, the less one is likely to be 
found at the performing arts, not because television viewing keeps one from 
the arts but because it may be preferred to attending live performances. 

Data in Table 7 indicate that neither hypothesis is consistently true. There 
is a significant difference between respondents in Stage I and Stage II in 
whether they work. However, contrary to the hypothesis, those interested in 
attending the performing arts are more likely to be working than those who 
are not. Further, among those who do work, those at Stage I work fewer hours 
than those at Stage II. As we have seen throughout these data, those not 

Table 7 
Employment Characteristics by Stage In Model 

Employment Characteristic 










Percent employed 
Hours worked per week 
Percent in professional/ 
managerial occupations 

TV hours per day 



66.5% f 
39.8 f 

22.6% f 

36.6 f 








"^Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .05 level of significance or 


Alan R. Andreasen 

attending and disinterested in the arts have markedly different life-styles in 
both their leisure and work pursuits. It may be fair to say that their most 
overwhelming trait is that they are simply less active in most dimensions of 
their lives. They do less, including working and attending the arts. Encourag- 
ing them to attend would not be merely a matter of changing the kinds of 
activities in which they engage, but of changing their overall level of activity. 

There is a decline in work hours between Stages II and III that would be 
consistent with the hypothesis that those attending are more likely to do so 
because they have the time. On the other hand, it may be noted that by Stage 
VI, the average number of work-hours of those who do work has approached 
the levels of those in Stage II. 

Table 7 also shows that as one moves through the performing arts 
adoption process, consumers are increasingly likely to be in managerial or 
professional occupations. 

With respect to watching television, Table 7 reveals no significant 
differences across groups. Those in the disinterested group (Stage I) do watch 
about 20 percent more television than four of the five remaining groups. Only 
the Stage V group exceeds their level of viewing. 

Age and the Family Life Cycle 

Data in Table 8 on mean age for each stage of the performing arts 
adoption process show that those with the least interest in the arts are the 
oldest. One striking age pattern in the data is the finding that those contented 
with their present status (Stages I, III, and V) are older than those expressing 
interest in attending more (Stages II, IV, and VI). This suggests that those 
who are older (even when they are current attenders) may not be particularly 
good prospects for programs intended to increase attendance. 

Of course, as social scientists have noted for some time, age may not best 
describe an individual's progress through life. A richer conception, the 
family life cycle, 18 incorporates age with marital status and the presence or 
absence of children to yield a set of "normal" life stages. The six stages and 
their relationship to the performing arts adoption process are indicated in 
Table 8. 

The results confirm the speculation that those over 65 (married or living 
alone) are much less likely to be interested in attending the performing arts 
more often. 

Does the presence of children make a difference? Three competing 
hypotheses may be offered: 


Table 8 

Stage in the Family Life Cycle by Stage 

in Performing Arts Adoption Model 
















Mean age 


38.5 f 



44.8 f 


Family Life Cycle 

Young single 







Young, married, no children 


8.6% f 

4.1% f 

10.4% f 

4.1% j 


Infants at home 


24.5% f 

12.8% f 




Children 6 plus 







Older, no children 


22.5% f 

27.9% t 







1 4.5% t 




Not categorized 













Mean Household size 







"^Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .05 level of significance or 


^Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .10 level of significance or 


• The presence of children decreases attendance but not interest be- 
cause children impose increased costs if they are taken along or if 
babysitters are needed or because scheduling a time to actually get 
away to live performances is more difficult; 

• The presence of children decreases arts attendance and interest 
because children cause a shift in priorities (i.e. more attention devoted 
to the work of childrearing) or because the children impose their own 
values on how the family spends its leisure time; 

• The presence of children increases arts attendance because adults 
interested in the arts make extra efforts to expose their children 
(perhaps as they were) to the performing arts. 

The data in Table 8 suggest that both the first and second hypotheses may 
have merit. First, it may be noted that those who are young and single or just 
married with no children are much more likely not to be in the disinterested 
group. Two thirds of both groups have progressed beyond Stage I to develop 


Alan R. Andreasen 

at least some interest in the arts. Further, married individuals are more likely 
to have attended an arts performance and expressed an interest in attending 
more (Stage IV). 

With the appearance of young children, there is a substantial increase in 
those reporting themselves "disinterested." (This is not a function of aging 
since the two groups with children at home are not defined as either young 
or older.) With children under six years at home, we find that only one-quarter 
of the respondents have attended even one art performance, although 29.5 
percent would like to. Of the respondents with older children, 31.8 percent 
have not only expressed interest, but have actually attended a performance. 
This trend continues to the point where the respondents are older and the 
children are gone. Here we see that 34 percent have attended in the last year. 
More significantly perhaps, the proportion having attended several times 
rises simultaneously. 

The effect of the life cycle is perhaps best seen by looking at the 
proportions at each life-cycle stage who are at Stages V or VI: 

Young, single 17.9% 

Young, married, no children 10.7% 

Children under six at home 8.7% 

Children six or older 12.4% 

Older, no children , 15.4% 

Elderly 8.8% 

Here we can see again that the elderly are clearly less active. But during 
the rest of the family life cycle, the relationship appears to be curvilinear. 
Those who are either young and single or older and with no children are those 
most likely to attend multiple events. Next most likely are those married with 
no children or married with children over six. Least likely to attend multiple 
events are those with children under six. The conclusion that young children 
at home inhibit rather than motivate involvement in the arts seems highly 

Finally, the data on average household size indicates relatively little 
difference across the various stages, with the slightly larger household size 
in Stage II consistent with the explanation above. 

Socioeconomic and Background Characteristics 

We have already analyzed several important socioeconomic charac- 
teristics including age, occupation, education and the family life cycle. There 
are several additional measures available in the Survey of Public Participa- 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

tion in the Arts that, according to other hypotheses, may be related to 
attendance and interest. These are race, ethnicity, gender, residence, and 
income. As indicated in Table 9, we do not find any statistically significant 
effects across the stages of the performing arts adoption process related to 
race and ethnicity. In part, this is a function of the small sample sizes. 19 

Gender, however, exhibits a curious pattern. Unlike most other variables 
in this study, there is no difference between the disinterested/non-attending 
group (Stage I) and the rest of the sample. Further, as Table 9 indicates, there 
are no differences in the proportion of females in Stages I, II, HI, and V. 
However, the table does indicate that those in Stages IV and VI are sig- 
nificantly more likely to be female. Both of these stages represent cases where 
respondents want to attend more performances but perceive barriers to doing 
so. As we shall outline below, there are important differences in the kinds of 
barriers men and women perceive to attending more arts performances. 

Residence. Just as gender affects whether one is interested in attending the 
performing arts more, so does whether one lives in a Standard Metropolitan 
Statistical Area (SMSA). 20 As noted in Table 9, residence in an SMSA 
affects interest in attending more performances at all three stages, II, IV, and 
VI. The most obvious explanation suggested by this finding is that a "penal- 
ty" of living in an SMSA for those who have developed some interest in 

Table 9 

Selected Socioeconomic Characteristics 

by Stage in Model 













Income over 
Mean family 









76.3% f 
33.2% f 
$27,134 + 





62.5% f 

40.1% f 
$30,1 22 f 

49.0% t 


56.1 % f 

64.6% f 


"•"Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .05 level of significance or 


^Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .10 level of significance or 



Alan R. Andreasen 

attending the performing arts is that one is exposed to a great deal of 
opportunity. Those already attending either one (Stage III) or many (Stage 
V) arts events are as likely to be from an SMSA as are those who profess 
interest in the arts but did not attend in the previous year. It appears that living 
in an SMSA has a perverse effect: It does not make one any more likely to 
be an active arts attender, but it probably makes one much more likely to 
want to attend more. 

Income. It has often been suggested that the performing arts are the play- 
ground for the well-to-do. We have already noted (Table 4) that education 
increases systematically through the stages of the performing arts adoption 
process. We have also seen in Table 7 that there is a slow increase in the 
proportion of respondents in managerial or professional occupations up 
through Stage VI. 

The effects of income, however, are different. When we observe either 
mean family income or the proportion of households with income over 
$30,000, we see two points of change in Table 9. As expected, the disinter- 
ested (Stage I) have significantly lower incomes than those with any involve- 
ment with the performing arts. There is little difference between Stages II 
and III, but a jump occurs as one moves from merely trying the performing 
arts to being interested in becoming a more active arts consumer. This would 
suggest that a necessary precondition for moving to the stage where one 
wishes to attend multiple performances may be a reasonable level of discre- 
tionary income. The increasing importance of income occurs at the positive 
evaluation stage, and after that stage there is little difference in average 
income or in the proportion of those who have incomes over $30,000. 


To this point we have investigated primarily personal or family attributes 
associated with progress from stage to stage of the performing arts adoption 
process. Because of the nature of the database, we have had to infer the likely 
factors that may be causing or inhibiting progress. However, one question in 
the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts directly addresses this issue. 
At three of the stages of the performing arts adoption process, individuals 
reported an interest in moving on to the next stage (i.e. attending more). In 
each case they were asked what barriers kept them from moving forward. 
Their own explanations were categorized in the SPPA under 16 headings, 
three of which we have excluded from this analysis: art form unavailable, 
respondent handicapped, or respondent ill or infirm. Barriers reported in five 


Table 10 

Percentage Citing Barriers to Attending 

More Performing Arts by Gender, Residence 

and Family Life Cycle 

Barrier Cited: 








33.9% f 

36.7% f 

36.7% f 






54.2% t 


11.0% f 


Young, no children 
Children at home 
Older, no children 

38.0% f 





10.4% f 




Significantly different from the preceding stage 

at the .05 level of s 

ignificance or 

key categories representing 88 percent of all barriers mentioned are reported 
in Table 10. The five categories are cost, problems associated with travel (i.e. 
too far to go or transportation, traffic, or parking problems), time, other 
personal reasons (i.e. "would feel uncomfortable," "don't have anyone to go 
with," babysitter problem/must care for children, or crime or fear of crime), 
and lack of motivation. 

Analysis of these perceived barriers revealed very little. Whether one has 
not attended in the last year, attended once, or attended more than once has 
no relationship to whether one mentions travel, time, other personal reasons, 
or lack of motivation for not going more. In only one case does a difference 
appear. Those who did not attend during the previous year were less likely 
to mention cost as a reason. The most plausible explanation for this may be 
that those who have not attended simply do not have much knowledge of 
costs at this stage. The finding would certainly imply that arts managers 
seeking to attract those who have not recently attended may not have to worry 
as much about addressing the cost problem. 

Although only one difference in barriers is mentioned across stages in 
the performing arts adoption process, there are differences related to resi- 
dence, gender and family life-cycle. The relevant data are presented in Table 
10, which shows patterns that are quite plausible. Those in SMS As are much 


Alan R. Andreasen 

more likely to mention cost and less likely to see travel as a problem. They 
also mention not having enough time, which would be consistent with our 
speculation that life in the "big city" is rife with opportunity for an active 
life-style, of which the performing arts are but one part. 

With respect to gender, men are somewhat more likely to mention not 
having enough time, while women are significantly more likely to mention 
personal reasons for not attending. When the latter is broken down into its 
components, we find that women are somewhat more likely to cite fear of 
crime, babysitter problems, or lack of someone to go with when asked 
identical questions about barriers to attendance. 

The findings with respect to the family life cycle are intriguing. Those 
with children are much more likely to mention cost, presumably because 
going to performances represents a much greater total outlay either for 
multiple tickets or for babysitting costs. With respect to time, the major 
difference is that the elderly less often complain about not having enough 
time. Those who are younger with no children probably have time problems 
because of an active life-style, while those with children may feel more 
family time pressures. 

The finding of differences due to personal concerns masks diversity 
among the family life-cycle groups. Those who are young without children 
rarely mention these problems. They seldom lack dates, they don't need 
babysitters, and they don't worry about crime or feeling uncomfortable. 
Those with children, especially those with children under six, mention 
babysitting problems, while those who are older and have no children are 
much more likely to mention fear of crime or the fact that they have no one 
to go with. 

Several of these findings support our earlier speculation that arts par- 
ticipation is curvilinear with respect to the family life cycle because the 
presence of children imposes both financial burdens and other respon- 
sibilities on these households. 

Arts Attended and Arts Sought 

To this point we have been treating the six categories of performing arts 
as interchangeable. Examining the particular art form currently attended and 
those forms sought out for future attendance provides further insight into the 
characteristics of those at each stage of the performing arts adoption process. 

Relevant data on current attendance are presented in Tables 11 and 12. 
Table 11 reports the proportion of those in Stages III through VI attending 
each performing art. Table 12 then reports attendance in terms of what 


Table 11 

Percentage Attending Performing Arts 

by Stage in Model 





Performing Art 










Classical music 










Musical plays 















Total events attended (number) 





marketers call "market share." The latter controls for the fact that those in 
Stages V and VI attend many events while those in Stages HI and IV attend 
only one or two. Table 12, therefore, reports the percentage each category 
represents of all categories mentioned by the group in the stage. Thus, for 
example, Table 1 1 shows that 27.3 percent of those in the Trial Stage (Stage 
III) attended jazz performances, while Table 12 shows that jazz events 
represent 22.1 percent of all events attended by those at this stage. 21 

As expected, those who attend multiple events show increases in absolute 
levels of attendance in all six categories. Obviously, those in Stages V and 
VI are better targets for each of the performing arts than those in Stages III 
and IV. However, Table 12 shows a subtle shifting of relative emphasis 
among categories. There is little difference across the four stages for attend- 
ance at classical music performances. Those at the trial stage are relatively 
more likely to patronize jazz or plays. By contrast, those attending multiple 
events (Stages V and VI) are relatively more likely to attend ballet and opera. 

Table 13 confirms two patterns among those who wish to attend more 
often. Those at the "interest" stage mention many fewer categories (although 
they could have mentioned all six) than those attending multiple events. This 
clearly confirms the assumption that movement along the performing arts 
adoption process represents deepening involvement in the arts. On the other 
hand, Table 13 does not show equal increase in interest in all categories. 
There is virtually no deepening of interest in jazz attendance across the three 
categories. There is an increase in the other five categories from those who 
didn't attend last year (Stage II) and those who attend only one event (Stage 
IV). However, of those who have attended several events, there is no change 


Table 12 

"Market Share" for Each Performing Art 

by Stage in Model 





Performing Art 










Classical music 










Musical plays 




















Total events attended 





in interest in attending more stage plays, and a decline of interest in attending 
musical plays. Greater interest, however, is shown for the more "serious" art 
forms (classical music, opera, and ballet). In general, the patterns in Tables 
11,12 and 13 show a correlation between increased attendance and increased 
interest in more serious art, a finding that validates the basic model. 


A review of the analyses of individual variables and indexes in the 
preceding sections indicates that in every case except one there were sig- 
nificant differences between those individuals not attending and not inter- 
ested in the arts (Stage I) and those who have a beginning interest in the arts 
(Stage II). The one exception is being in a family with children over six years 
old. The latter is one of three measures where there are no major changes 
across all six stages. The other two are race and ethnicity, where the lack of 
significant effects across all six stages is probably due to small sample sizes. 

If one looks only at the four transitions beyond the first two stages, there 
are six variables where there are virtually no differences across the remaining 
stages. These measures are all life-style activities: 

• visiting amusement parks, 

• doing crafts, 

• sewing and knitting, 


Table 13 

Performing Arts Sought by Those 

Wanting to Attend More by Stage in Model 




Performing Art 








Classical music 


31.9% f 






Musical plays 


71.7% + 

56.6% f 



50.2% T 




19.2% f 

28.3% t 

"^Significantly different from the preceding stage at the .05 level of 

significance or 


• working backstage at a jazz or classical music performance, 

• acting, singing, or dancing, and 

• playing a musical instrument. 

The lack of differences for the last two measures is in part due to small sample 

Of the remaining measures, eight show no significant differences be- 
tween any two stages, but do show a systematic increase stage-by-stage over 
the five stages. These measures are: 

number of years of education, 

having attended college, 

being a professional or manager, 

total consumption of the arts through other media, 

going to sports events, 

visiting science museums, and 

doing photography. 

Many of the remaining variables also rise as one moves from Stage II to Stage 
VI. However, there are occasions where there are spurts or lags at certain 
stages that create significant differences between stages. This generally 
describes all of the remaining life-style measures and most of the other 
socialization, media, and socioeconomic measures. There are three cases, 


Aian R. Andreasen 

however, in which the patterns involve oscillations. These are: (a) SMSA, 
where those interested in greater attendance (Stages n, IV and VI) are more 
often found in SMS As than those who are content with their present level of 
attendance (Stages I, HI, and V); (b) gender, where females are more likely 
to be interested in attending more multiple events (Stages IV and VI) and 
men are more content with their level of attendance (Stages HI and V); and 
(c) the elderly who were more likely to be content with their present levels 
of attendance (Stages HI and V) than wanting more (Stages IV and VI). 

Discriminant Analysis 

To this point, our analysis has identified and provided prehminary 
validation for the model of the performing arts adoption process, uncovered 
a number of dramatic differences across stages, and identified factors that 
appear to be related to transitions between the stages. Except for the oc- 
casional use of indexes the analysis has considered each of the major sets of 
variables in the SPPA study separately. 

However, many of the variables are related to each other. This would 
include both traditional socioeconomic correlations such as occupation and 
education, and also many of the life- style measurements specific to this study. 
Many of the factors shown to be significant may only be so because they are 
associated with other variables. It is important, therefore, to investigate the 
proposed performing arts adoption process model considering the variables 

Since our primary interest is in understanding movement through the 
performing arts adoption process, the questions we need to answer are the 

1. At each stage of the process, which set of variables in combination best 
distinguishes those at this stage from those at the immediately preceding 

2. What is the relative importance of each of the variables in the final set? 

3. How successful is the entire set of variables in separating those at one 
stage from those at the earlier stage? 

The appropriate technique for this task is the two-group discriminant 
analysis which has had a relatively long history in social science and 
marketing research. The approach uses the technique analytically to find the 
linear combination of candidate discriminator variables that best separates a 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

given population into two groups where group membership is already known. 
A typical application in marketing would be to identify the key distinguishing 
characteristics of those who buy a firm's brand or patronize a firm's outlet 
or service from those who do not. 22 It has also been used to separate buyers 
and nonbuyers of new products. 23 Where there are more than two groups 
involved, it is also possible to extend two-group discriminant analysis to a 
multiple-group case. 24 

In the present analysis, discriminant analysis is employed to learn which 
combination of variables best separates respondents at each transition point 
in the performing arts adoption process.* 

As expected from the results of other studies, several of the variables 
found to be significant in the bivariate analyses (analyses using only two 
variables) were not significant in the discriminant analysis when their inter- 
actions with other variables were considered. Still others showed reversals 
of signs suggesting that real relationships may be obscured in the bivariate 
analyses by the presence of hidden third or fourth variables. 

In the five discriminant equations, a number of patterns emerged. First, 
the single most important discriminating variable is place of residence, which 
appeared in all five equations and typically carried the heaviest weight. It is 
clear that living in a major metropolitan area creates a strong interest in 
attending more performing arts events, even among those who haven't 
attended in the past year. 

Second, life-style factors appear in all of the equations. And, while the 
specific factors differ by equation, they are almost always life-style activities 
that involve considerable effort and activity and take place outside the home. 

Interpretation of each of the last four equations in light of the variables 
also found significant in the bivariate analysis is as follows: 

• Trial. With other variables held constant, moving to the trial stage is 
not associated with parental encouragement in the arts as a child, but 
is positively associated with attending college. Those moving to the 
trial stage are likely to be older, not recently married or not with 
children under six. Having children under six clearly inhibits actual 
attendance, even at a first event. Those who move to the trial stage 
and show no interest in moving farther are likely to engage in other 
activities such as visiting museums, hiking or camping, or going to 

* The full set of predictor variables is listed in Appendix A. In general, the candidate 
set of variables was as disaggregated as possible. Thus, for example, the set 
includes the individual life-style activities rather than summary indexes. 


Alan R. Andreasen 

the movies. They also balance their arts attendance with working 
backstage at plays and painting and sculpting on their own. 

Positive Evaluation. Developing an interest in increased arts atten- 
dance after a trial appears to be a matter of both motivation and 
inhibition. Parental encouragement and living in an SMS A lead one 
to want more attendance, and having an income over $30,000 ap- 
parently helps provide the means for getting more deeply involved. 
However, being newly married or having children under six appar- 
ently discourages attendance at multiple events (Stage IV). As a 
consequence, this group listens to records and tapes and visits his- 
torical sites, presumably with young children. Home life apparently 
permits less painting, sculpture, or crafts, and encourages board 
games. People at this stage also keep up their interest in the arts by 
attending adult arts classes. 

Adoption. Moving on to attend multiple events is again associated 
with parental encouragement and with going to art museums and 
painting and sculpting, but not with visiting historical sites or exer- 
cising or jogging. Adoption is more likely to be associated with 
charitable work and not associated with being female. Females are 
more likely to want to move beyond present attendance levels, but 
are inhibited by other obligations. 25 Movement to the adoption stage 
is also associated with a greater interest in arts on the radio and less 
interest in arts on records or tapes. 

Confirmation. Movement beyond multiple attendance to wanting 
more involvement is again a function of motivators and inhibitors. 
Childhood socialization is again important, in this case in the form 
of early arts classes in school rather than parental encouragement. As 
in the previous transition, life-cycle factors are no longer significant 
(although we know that the elderly in general are not interested in 
increased arts activity). Movement to the confirmation stage is as- 
sociated with a decline in attending art classes and an increase (again) 
in visiting historical sites and exercising or jogging. Of more sig- 
nificance is the fact that women are more likely than men, and SMS A 
residents more likely than non-SMSA residents, to have a long term 
commitment to the arts. 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

The preceding bivariate and multivariate analyses constitute an ex- 
ploratory investigation of a new model outlining six steps through which an 
individual progresses from being a disinterested non-attender at the perform- 
ing arts to being an attender at multiple events who wants to attend more. 
This model is responsive to the needs of performing arts managers who wish 
to expand their audiences, but who recognize that active intervention must 
be based on a clear understanding of the underlying process to be influenced. 
Audiences differ in "where they are" with respect to attending the performing 
arts, and marketers must realize that it is an incremental process. 

The research reported above appears to offer strong support for the model 
both as a way of describing the process of becoming involved in arts 
patronage and as a source of insights into the factors that encourage or inhibit 
movement through the process. The model of the performing arts adoption 
process not only has face validity, but also predictive and explanatory power. 
The bivariate analysis indicates that movement along the stages is clearly 
associated with factors such as education, occupation, life-style, and early 
childhood socialization, found to be important in other studies. Movement 
from one stage to another is characterized by more involvement and by 
deeper involvement in the sense of greater interest and more attendance. 

The strongest differences in the entire process are between the first two 
stages. Those who express no interest in the arts are dramatically different 
from those who have even the most minimal interest. More importantly, these 
differences are so pronounced that people at Stage I should, from an effi- 
ciency standpoint, be given very low priority in future audience development 
programs. Their socioeconomic characteristics are just not like those at any 
other stage in the process. Furthermore, they are simply less active in all 
pursuits, including work. Thus encouraging their interest in the arts would 
be not only a matter of changing their activities, but changing their inactive 
life-style. This would seem a formidable, if not an impossible task. 

This study found that movement from Stage II to Stage VI is probably 
influenced by the following socioeconomic variables: 

• Early childhood socialization whether through parental encourage- 
ment or art classes is strongly associated with movement along the 
performing arts adoption process. 26 However, the discriminant analy- 
sis suggests that the influence of this variable may not come about 
until after the adoption stage. 


Alan R. Andreasen 

Residence in a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area presents more 
opportunities to participate in the arts and presumably leads to a 
stronger desire to attend more performing arts no matter what one's 
present level of attendance. At the same time, while an SMS A reduces 
travel problems as a barrier to greater attendance, it increases eco- 
nomic costs and apparently offers so many other opportunities (and 
perhaps a more hectic life-style) that SMS A residents complain more 
often of not having enough time to attend more. 

One's stage in the performing arts adoption process is associated 
with one's stage in the family life cycle. The elderly are less likely 
to attend multiple events and more content with their present level 
of attendance, whatever it is. Attendance at multiple events is 
greatest by those who are young and single and those who are older 
and have no children living at home. It seems probable that the 
presence of children under six strongly inhibits movement through 
the stages. 

According to the discriminant analysis, and contrary to other studies, 
discretionary income is not uniformly associated with movement 
along the process. It sets those interested (Stage II) apart from those 
who are not (Stage I), probably because it is associated with at least 
a minimal interest in the arts. Beyond that point, income only appears 
to be an important discriminator at Stage IV. One apparently has to 
have at least a minimum amount of discretionary income to be 
interested in attending multiple events. 

As other studies have shown, measures of life- style provide useful 
insights into movement across various stages of the process. How- 
ever, in contrast to the earlier studies, we found that, once other 
factors are controlled, only those life-style activities involving active 
commitments of time and effort away from home appear to offer 
consistent explanatory power: People who seldom leave home during 
their leisure time are unlikely to increase attendance at live perfor- 
mances. The multivariate analysis shows that these activities appear 
most strongly at the Trial stage where a passive interest in the arts is 
first associated with active effort to actually get out of the house and 
go to a performance. 

At the stages of the process where individuals may perceive barriers 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

to increased attendance, there were three major findings. First, with 
one exception, we found no major differences in barriers whether one 
has never attended, attended one or two times, or attended multiple 
events. The one exception was that cost was less important to those 
who had not attended in the last year. Second, cost seems less an 
inhibitor for those early in the process than one might have assumed. 
Finally, we found that the types of barriers one mentioned were 
related to SMSA (as noted above), gender, and family life cycle, 
although in ways that were quite predictable (e.g. those with young 
children complained about babysitting problems). 

• Other uses of time such as working or watching television appeared 
not to inhibit arts attendance, nor did consuming arts on other media 
reduce attendance. On the contrary, consumption of art through other 
media appeared to become important when respondents had gone 
beyond the trial stage, had positively evaluated a live performance, 
and wanted to attend more. 

Finally, with respect to methodology, the bivariate analyses identified 
some variables that appeared to be associated with movement along the 
process, but were subsequently found not to be significant or to have a 
different effect when other factors with which they were correlated were 
introduced. Clearly, bivariate analyses should be approached with caution if 
they are not accompanied by the application of more powerful techniques 
such as discriminate analysis. 

Recommendations for Performing Arts Managers 

We have provided strong support in the preceding sections for the 
performing arts adoption process as a valid descriptive and explanatory 
model of the sequence of steps through which consumers pass in then- 
progress from disinterest to active involvement in the live performing arts. 
The model must still be considered exploratory, but it seems reasonable to 
argue that it is useful to both theorists and researchers. A final test for the 
model is whether it is useful to performing arts managers. This audience is, 
in fact, the one whose development problems motivated the present study. 

We propose the following as reasonable managerial insights based on the 
model itself and on the empirical investigation of target segments of the 
population defined by that model. 


Alan R. Andreasen 

Insights from the Performing Arts Adoption Process Model 

• Becoming a committed, performing arts attender requires progres- 
sion through several stages of commitment and behavior. Transform- 
ing a presently disinterested nonattender into an enthusiastic patron 
of the arts is a gradual, one-step-at-a-time process. 

• Transition from step to step varies in the challenge it presents. Getting 
interested for the first time presumably requires acquisition of much 
more information than is the case for those who tried the performing 
arts and need to be brought to the point where they attend more. 
Clearly, the marketing strategies that a manager uses for those at one 
stage must be different from those used at a different stage. 

• Since the transitions facing a consumer at each of the first five stages 
of the model differ, it is reasonable to expect that the type of consumer 
one finds at each stage will differ (a major empirical finding of the 
analysis). This has further implications for the marketing strategies 
to be employed at each stage. 

Empirical Insights 

As noted, the results clearly indicate that consumers at each of the five 
stages of the model differ markedly in who they are and what their interests 
and backgrounds are. In this study, it was difficult to judge whether people 
at some stages were more ready to change than others — a major concern for 
managers. However, the empirical evidence clearly suggests that the gap 
between those at Stage I (Disinterest) and at Stage II (Interest) is more than 
a gap; it is a chasm. It seems quite clear that efforts to move the 47 percent 
of the market at Stage I to the next stage would be uneconomical and probably 
would have a very limited chance of success. 

Ways to influence the 53 percent of the population at the other five stages 
in the process are suggested by empirical data which describe those at each 
stage and the nature of the transitions between them. This allows managers to 
develop an effective segmentation strategy to address each stage separately. 

One approach is direct targeting. It involves clearly identifying those with 
traits that make them very likely to be prime candidates for making a 
particular transition and then focusing one's resources on them. The second 
is self-selection. It involves contriving messages that speak directly to the 
particular segment and inducing them to think "Oh, yes, they're speaking to 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

me. Let me hear what they have to say." Self- selection is more expensive 
than direct targeting in that it requires blanketing the market rather broadly 
in the hopes of catching many in the targeted group. It is also risky in that 
many who are not in the targeted group will be reached by the message and 
some may, in fact, be offended by it. 

To develop a basis for using either strategy, one must identify the traits 
that distinguish consumers at each transition point, and then emphasize the 
characteristics of those at the next stage to which one wishes those in the 
earlier stage to move. The assumption is that those in the earlier stage 
possessing these traits are the best candidates for moving on. The data, 
therefore, suggest the following segmentation approaches for each of the four 
major transitions: 

Inducing Trial 

1. Direct Targeting. Prime candidates would be those who: 

a. Are not on an arts organization's subscription list but have indicated 
some interest {e.g. asking for a brochure, taking a guided tour, or 
stopping by an arts fair exhibit); 

b. Have worked backstage at a play or musical comedy; 

c. Have visited an art museum (i.e. are on their mailing list); 

d. Belong to some organized sports team or gym; 

e. Hike or camp (e.g. belong to a hiking club or visit specific recreational 

f. Attend movies (perhaps of a particular type?); 

g. Are in an SMS A; 

h. Are alumni of colleges; 

i. Paint or sculpt (e.g. show at arts fairs, take classes, rent studios); 

j. (Possibly) Are involved in charities; 

k. (Possibly) Elderly (e.g. belong to Golden Years organizations). 

2. Self-Selection. Messages directed to this segment should portray them 
as having one or more of the traits just outlined. Further, they should not 
be portrayed as young and married with no children or with children 
under six. Messages that might "speak" to this audience could contain 
some or all of the following language: 

• "You've always been interested in the arts. Now that the kids are in 
school and your life is more settled, here is your chance ..." 


Alan R. Andreasen 

• "There are certain people who are always on the go. They hike, they 
enjoy sports, they go to art museums. They're curious and they like 
new experiences. For those of you who have always wanted to try 
the performing arts as part of your active life-style, here's your 
chance . . ." 

Encouraging Positive Evaluation 

1. Direct Targeting. The obvious target groups would be those who: 

a. Are first- time attenders at any event; 

b. Purchase records or tapes of arts performances; 

c. Visit historic sites or zoos; 

d. Take art classes; 

e. Are in SMS As. 

2. Self-Selection. Messages appealing to this group might contain some or 
all of the following: 

• "This is often a child-centered time for many households. Times for 

taking the kids to a zoo or a historic site like . Or sometimes 

just to stay home and play board games and listen to your tapes or 
records. But remember the time when you went to the performing 
arts? Don't you think that's something you ought to try again — 
maybe after the kids are a little older? Or maybe it's something to 
take the kids to now, just as your Mom and Dad took you. Now that 
you've got a little more money, don't you think you owe it to 
yourself — and to them?" 

• "We know you spend a lot of time at home, but you're still a very 
active person. Don't you think you should enjoy the live performing 
arts as a regular part of your active life-style?" 

At this stage, your objective is to get the target audience interested in 
attending more, not in actually doing so. 

Encouraging Adoption 

1. Direct Targeting. The groups to appeal to here are those who: 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

a. Have attended a performing arts event recently and expressed an 
interest in attending more, perhaps by picking up a brochure at the 

b. Visited art museums; 

c. Are active in charitable work; 

d. Listen to some classical music radio stations; 

e. Are Black; 

f . Paint or sculpt; 

g. Are male. 

2. Self-Selection. Messages for this segment may be designed around the 
following themes: 

• "For a long time you've been thinking about making the performing 
arts a permanent part of your active life- style. Here is your chance to 
subscribe to a package of great events." 

• "Your parents were right. Making the performing arts a major part of 
your life is rewarding. Even for the busy person who thinks he or she 
can't fit in another thing, the arts are a great diversion — something 
really different! They can stimulate, enrich, relax the most jaded and 
overworked person." 

• "We know how exciting it is to live in a big city and to have so many 
choices. Maybe you're a little frustrated that there is so much out 
there that you can't do it all and just don't know where to begin. 
Here's our guide for those who want to 'Grow with the Arts'." 

Inducing Confirmation 

1. Direct Targeting. The targets here are those who: 

a. Are already subscribers to arts series or who can be found on multiple 
mailing or subscriber lists; 

b. Visit historical sites; 

c. Participate in exercise classes or health clubs; 

d. Are female; 

e. Are in SMSAs. 


Alan R. Andreasen 

2. Self-Selection. Messages for this group would either reinforce their 
existing attendance {e.g. subscription) behavior or encourage them to 
further broaden their experiences. A typical message might be: 

• "As an active person and a serious patron of the arts, you know what 
an enriching experience the arts can be. It is something you will want 
to keep up for a lifetime. Remember, our city contains many resources 
in the performing arts. Here's a way you can continue to expand your 
involvement in the arts . . ." 

Although the data do not permit estimates of how much to allocate to 
each of these four transitions, two considerations should be kept in mind. 
First, the segments differ in size. Almost two-thirds of those beyond Stage I 
are in Stages II and IV where they have expressed positive interest in 
increased attendance. Second, the segments beyond Stage I probably differ 
in their susceptibility to efforts to move them to the next stage. It would seem 
logical to suppose that it is easier to get those in (the larger) Stages II and IV 
to translate their interest into action than to change those in Stages in and V 
who are satisfied with their level of attendance. 

If more resources are put into Stages II and IV, further segmentation of 
those markets in terms of the barriers they face seems warranted. Thus, in 
addressing women, one should encourage them to come alone or should 
provide babysitting. In addressing those with children at home, one should 
stress cost savings by offering a family discount package. 

Although the data do not suggest it, an approach to moving people at one 
stage to the next could be to identify those at the later stage and have them 
motivate their friends who are at an earlier stage. For example, one might 
contact subscribers and encourage them to interest a friend, perhaps by 
offering a discount coupon (or subscription brochure) and a $10.00 discount 
at a restaurant good only for a party of four. 

Finally, the role of early childhood socialization in the later stages of the 
process should be noted. This again emphasizes the value to the arts com- 
munity generally of continued, substantial investments in programs in 
schools and elsewhere to encourage children to begin a lifetime involvement 
with the performing arts. 

These strategies allow managers to focus on targeted markets at particular 
stages and to inch them toward an extended commitment to attendance (and 
perhaps to other forms of financial and vocal support). In carrying out these 
strategies, managers need to develop systems to identify those at each stage 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

and then to track their progression to subsequent stages over time. Such 
systems would allow knowledge to accrue on how to stimulate movement in 
particular markets and how the analysis here applies to different regions and 
art forms. 

Research Recommendations 

Although we believe the approach of this explanatory study is both valid 
and useful, much remains to be done to extend the validation, improve our 
understanding of the transitions, and increase the model's managerial use- 
fulness. The following are some of the research possibilities to explore in the 
near term. 

1. Clearly, the two most problematic aspects of the present study are that 
it is cross-sectional and based on secondary data. Several assumptions 
were necessary, particularly those assigning individual respondents to 
each stage of the performing arts adoption process. A replication of the 
present study with more careful questioning about respondents' entire 
past performing arts behavior would be a valuable next step. 

2. Two alternative research approaches that could be used to measure 
changes in arts behavior year-to-year for the same consumers would be 
the following: 

• A retrospective study would simply ask a cross- section of consumers 
about their current behavior and their behavior a year earlier. While 
such a design would be subject to memory and telescoping biases, 
gross measures (e.g. asking if they are now attending "more, less, or 
the same") can be trustworthy. 

• A true panel would ask a fixed sample of individuals to report their 
current behavior at specified intervals (e.g. once a year). This design 
requires patience and can be expensive. It is also subject to biases due 
to sample "mortality" and pre-sensitization. However, it does yield 
relatively objective data on changes in behavior which can be tied to 
specific individuals. Further, costs can be kept within bounds by 
using lower-cost methods such as mail-back diaries after the first 


Alan R. Andreasen 

3. If and when a new study is undertaken, measures of the following would 
add important new insights: 

• Attendance and interest in the performing arts on the part of other 
members of the household; 

• Satisfaction with recent attendance (especially among those who 
have attended only one event in a category in the past year); 

• Factors considered when deciding to attend a performance (to move 
from Stage II to Stage III) or to expand attendance to multiple events 
(to move from Stage IV to Stage V); 

• Magazines or newspapers read, radio stations listened to, television 
programs watched (to give guidance to future media strategies); 

• Recent changes in life status such as divorce, job change, geographic 
relocation, or birth of a child (to indicate whether such changes 
precipitate changes in performing arts involvement). 

4. Other important assumptions or issues to be explored in future research 
are the following: 

Are the six art forms really substitutes for each other? Are there 
identifiable subsets that compete only with each other? Are there 
other going-out options that ought to be included as alternatives in 
future research designs (e.g. going to the movies or to an upscale 

• In what ways are metropolitan areas different? Is the substantial array 
of alternatives there motivating or frustrating? Are the life-styles of 
arts attenders in major urban areas markedly different from the 
life-styles of arts attenders in non-SMS As? 

Are there regional differences in the contribution of explanatory 
variables? Is cost more important in the South or Midwest? Is time 
pressure a greater problem on the East Coast? Are young people 
different in California? 

• Do individuals pass through all stages of the model, or do they leap 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

across stages under certain circumstances? Under what conditions 
does this happen? 

Under what circumstances do consumers "regress" in the process? 
To what extent are family life-cycle factors important in this regard? 
What can arts organizations do to inhibit or prevent such regression? 


Alan R. Andreasen 


1. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1986 
(Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987), p. 236. 
Note that attendance at Broadway and regional theater declined in 1983 
and 1984 after growing more or less steadily since 1976. 

2. Paul DiMaggio, Michael Useem, and Paula Brown, Audience Studies of 
the Performing Arts and Museums. National Endowment for the Arts, 
Research Report #9 (Washington, D.C., 1977). 

3. Alan R. Andreasen, "Life Status Changes and Changes in Consumer 
Preferences and Satisfaction," Journal of Consumer Research 11: 1 
(Spring 1984), pp. 784-794. 

4. Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations (Glencoe, IL: The Free 
Press, 1983). This is the seminal work in the area. Also, Thomas S. 
Robertson, "Marketing's Potential Contribution to Consumer Behavior 
Research: The Case of Diffusion Theory," in Thomas C. Kinnear, ed. 
Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. XI (Provo, Utah: Association for 
Consumer Research, 1984), pp. 484-489. 

5. John P. Robinson, Carol A. Keegan, Terry Hanford, and Timothy A. 
Triplett, Public Participation in the Arts: Final Report on the 1982 
Survey (Washington, D.C.: Research Division, National Endowment for 
the Arts, October 1985). Data from a similar 1985 study were not used 
in the present analysis since in the later study all of the measures used in 
this analysis were never collected at one time for one sample of respon- 

6. As will be noted below, these assumptions deserve attention in future 
explorations of the present model. 

7. This assumption is well documented in the 1982 and 1985 SPPA studies. 
See Robinson, et ai, Public Participation in the Arts. 

8. See Robinson et ai, Public Participation in the Arts. 

9. See, for example, Alan R. Andreasen and Russell W. Belk, "Predictors 
of Attendance at the Performing Arts," Journal of Consumer Research 
7: 2 (September 1980), pp. 1 12-120; Richard J. Orend, Socialization and 
Participation in the Arts. National Endowment for the Arts, Research 
Report #21 (Washington, D.C., 1989). 

10. William D. Wells, ed., Life Style and Psycho graphics (Chicago: Ameri- 
can Marketing Association, 1973). The usual strategy in marketing 
research is to factor-analyze such measures in one of two ways: Either 
one seeks underlying dimensions that the sample as a whole appears to 
express in its answers, or one seeks to group individuals in terms of their 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

AIO patterns. Both approaches were used by Belk and Andreasen in a 
1978 study for the National Endowment for the Arts (Andreasen and 
Belk, "Predictors of Attendance at the Performing Arts"). These authors 
analyzed leisure life-style data for a sample of respondents in four 
southern cities and classified six basic types, two of which — the culture 
patrons and social activists — were important consumers for symphony 
or theater. Psychographic analysis using the widely popular VALS 
life-style model developed by Arnold Mitchell (Arnold Mitchell, The 
Nine American Lifestyles [New York: MacMillan, 1983]) was used to 
help explain performing arts attendance in a study carried out for the 
Association of College, University and Community Arts Administrators. 
Inc. (The Professional Performing Arts: Attendance Patterns, Preferen- 
ces and Motives, [Madison, WL: Association of College, University and 
Community Arts Administrators, Inc., 1984]). This study found that 
those who were classified as "societally conscious" or "experientials" 
were by far the heaviest attenders in the total population. Although the 
"achiever" psychographic group bulks larger in the general population, 
the study predicts that the "societally conscious" will soon overtake them 
in total audience size. In the present study, it was not possible to use the 
psychographic segmentation approach developed in either of the other 
two studies. 

11. Robinson et ai, Public Participation in the Arts. Robinson and his 
associates analyzed these data (with the exclusion of TV viewing and 
museum attendance) and drew the following major conclusions: 

a) Five factors appeared in the analysis. However, four of these factors 
had relatively small associations with key variables. 

b) All of the activities were positively associated with each other and 
that "one 'general activity' factor seemed a more apt descriptor of the 
data than the five dimensions that emerged from the analysis." 

Because of these conclusions, we decided not to begin with a reduced 
set of factors. A second reason for adopting this strategy is that, in the 
present investigation, our interest is in the stages of the performing arts 
adoption process. It is not clear that, even if some general factor stru dure 
for the entire sample could be developed, such a structure would be 
appropriate to the separate stages and transition points. 

12. Russell W. Belk and Alan R. Andreasen, "The Effects of Family Life 
Cycle on Arts Patronage," Journal of Cultural Economics, Vol.6, no. 2 
(December 1982), pp. 25-26. Belk and Andreasen found that attendance 
at symphony and theater in four southern cities declined when in- 
dividuals were newly married and had children at home. 


Alan R. Andreasen 

13. William D. Wells and George Gubar, "The Life Cycle Concept in 
Marketing Research," Journal of Marketing Research 3 (November, 
1966), pp. 355-363; E. Laird Landon and William B. Locander, "Family 
Life Cycle and Leisure Behavior Research," in William L. Wilkie, ed., 
Advances in Consumer Research 6 (Ann Arbor, MI: Association for 
Consumer Research, 1979), pp. 133-138. 

14. DiMaggio and Useem, for example, point to the persistence of income 
and gender as predictors of arts attendance in a large number of studies. 
Paul DiMaggio, Michael Useem, and Paula Brown, Audience Studies of 
the Performing Arts and Museums: A Critical Review (Washington, 
D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 1978). 

15. Andreasen and Belk, "The Effects of Family Life Cycle." 

16. For a full description of barriers reported by respondents, see Robinson 
et al., Public Participation in the Arts. 

17. However, they are roughly parallel to those used by Robinson et al., 
Public Participation in the Arts. 

18. Wells and Gubar, "Life Cycle Concept." 

19. Paul DiMaggio and Francis Ostrower, Race, Ethnicity and Participation 
in the Arts: Patterns, of Participation by Black, Hispanic and White 
Americans in Selected Activities from the 1982 and 1985 Surveys of 
Public Participation in the Arts. Report to the National Endowment for 
the Arts, Research Division, June 1987. Using a different approach and 
more information from the SPPA database, DiMaggio and Ostrower 
have concluded that there are differences in consumption due to race and 
ethnicity (i.e. Hispanic origin), but that these differences are largely 
attributable to differences between these groups and the white majority 
in other socioeconomic characteristics such as education. 

20. Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas are metropolitan areas with 
populations of 250,000 or more. They include a population nucleus and 
adjacent communities which have a high degree of economic and social 
integration with the nucleus. After 1983, SMSAs were redefined and 
named as Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). 

21. This calculation does not weight attendance in a category by the number 
of times a respondent attended in the category. 

22. See, for example, Franklin B. Evans, "Psychological and Objective 
Factors in the Prediction of Brand Choice: Ford Versus Chevrolet," 
Journal of Business, October 1959, pp. 340-369; Henry J. Claycamp, 
"Characteristics of Owners of Thrift Deposits in Commercial Banks and 
Savings and Loan Associations," Journal of Marketing Research, May 
1965, pp. 163-170. 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

23. Edgar A. Pessemier, Philip C. Burger, and Douglas J. Tigert, "Can New 
Product Buyers be Identified?" Journal of Marketing Research, Novem- 
ber 1967, pp. 349-369. 

24. See, for example, Thomas S. Robertson and John N. Kennedy, "Predic- 
tion of Consumer Innovators: Application of Multiple Discriminant 
Analysis," Journal of 'Marketing Research, February 1968, pp. 64—69. 

25. Race in this equation could not be interpreted. 

26. See Andreasen and Belk, "Predictors of Attendance," and Orend, So- 
cialization and Participation. 


Alan R. Andreasen 

Candidate Variables for Discriminant Analysis 

Life-style Characteristics 

Outdoor, Individual 
Go to movies 
Go to sports 
Play sports 
Exercise, jog 
Do charity work 

Out of Home, Family 
Visit art museum 
Visit science museum 
Visit historic site 
Visit art fairs 
Visit amusement parks 
Visit zoo 


Do crafts 

Do needlecrafts 

Paint, sculpt 

Write poems, stories 

Take arts class 

Do photography 

Play musical instrument 

Act, sing, dance 

Play games 

Read books, magazines 
Read novels, poetry 
Collect stamps, coins 
Cook gourmet meals 
Repair home, vehicles 
Read, listen to poetry 


Musical, play, ballet 
Jazz, classical performance 

Family Life Cycle 

Young single 

Young, married, no child 

Children under six at home 

Children six or older 

Older, no child 


Arts on Other Media 
Records, tape 


Number of hours worked 

Other Socioeconomic 


Years of education 

Household size 

Total family income 

Income over $30,000 





Attended college 


Hours of TV viewing 
Parental encouragement as child 
Childhood classes in the arts 
Adult classes in the arts 


Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts 

About the Author 

Alan R. Andreasen is professor and head of the Department of Marketing 
at the University of Connecticut. He is an internationally known consultant 
and author on marketing for non-profit organizations. 

Other Publications of Interest 

Readers of this report may wish to obtain more information about the details 
of the study and about related research projects conducted for the Research 
Division of the National Endowment for the Arts. The following reports are 
available at libraries, bookstores or from their publishers: 

Socialization and Participation in the Arts 

Richard J. Orend 

Research Division Report #21 

54 pages 

National Endowment for the Arts (1989) 

Available from the American Council on the Arts, 1285 Avenue of the . 

Americas, New York, NY 10019 

Who Reads Literature? 

Nicholas Zill & Marianne Winglee 
Research Division Report #22 
104 pages, 0-932020-86-0 
Seven Locks Press (1990) $9.95 

The Audience for American Art Museums 

J. Mark Davidson Schuster 
Research Division Report #23 
60 pages, 0-929765-00-1 
Seven Locks Press (1991) $10.95 

In addition the following reports are available through the Education 
Research Information Center (ERIC) system: 

Dan Abreu, " Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, Musical Theater, 
Operetta, and Opera Attendees." April 1, 1987, ERIC Identification Number: 
ED 289 760. 

Carol Keegan, "Public Participation in Classical Ballet: A Special Analysis of 
the Ballet Data Collected in the 1982 and 1985 Survey of Public Participation in 
the Arts." April 30, 1987. ERIC Identification Number: ED 288 756. 

David Waterman, "Public Participation in the Arts Via the Media.' ■ September 
1987, ERIC Identification Number: ED 290 674. 

Jerry West, "Public Participation in the Arts: Demands and Barriers.' ' ERIC 
Identification Number: ED 287 764. 

Harold Horowitz, "The American Jazz Audience." ERIC Identification 
Number: ED 280 757. 

John Robinson, et al., "Public Participation in the Arts: Final Report of the 1982 
Survey." Survey Research Center, University of Maryland, January 1986. ERIC 
Identification Number: ED 264 168. 

John Robinson, etal., "Survey of Public Participation in the Arts: 1985 Volume I, 
Project Report." Survey Research Center, University of Maryland, March 1987. 
ERIC Identification Number: ED 289 763. 

Judith R. Blau, "The Geography of Arts Participation: Report on the 1982 and 
1985 Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts." March 1987. ERIC Identifica- 
tion Number: ED 289 762. 

Paul DiMaggio, "Race, Ethnicity and Participation in the Arts: Patterns of Par- 
ticipation by Black, Hispanic and White Americans in Selected Activities from 
the 1982 and 1985 Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts." June 1987. ERIC 
Identification Number: ED 293 759. 

J. Mark Davidson Schuster, "An Inquiry into the Geographic Correlates of 
Government Arts Funding." ERIC Identification Number: ED 298 023. 

The documents are the original research reports as prepared by the investi- 
gators. They contain extensive information about methods, and numerous tables 
and figures. The ERIC collection is available at hundreds of libraries in the United 
States and abroad, as well as "on-line" from computerized information services. 

Requests for information about the purchase of microfiche or photocopies 
of these reports should be sent to: ERIC Document Reproduction Services, 
Consumer Service, P.O. Box 190, Arlington, VA 22210. 


Expanding the Audience 
for the Performing Arts 

Becoming involved in the arts is not a one-step process but a 
progression through several stages. Upon this simple, yet valuable, 
premise, rests Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts. 

According to the author, a person travels from disinterest to active 
attendance as they approach becoming part of the audience for the 
performing arts. For arts administrators seeking to expand their 
audiences, understanding where on this continuum rest the people 
they seek to attract is critical to their success. 

A six-stage model is proposed in this study and is tested using data 
from the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. The findings 
validate the usefulness of this approach for both arts managers and 
future researchers in the field. 

Alan R. Andreasen 

University of Connecticut 

Research Division Report #24 

National Endowment for the Arts 

Seven Locks Press