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Full text of "The geography of participation in the arts and culture : a research monograph based on the 1997 survey of public participation in the arts"

The Geography 
of Participation 
in the Arts and 
Culture 



A Research Monograph Based on 

the 1 997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts 



The Geography 
of Participation 
in the Arts and 
Culture 



A Research Monograph Based on 

the 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts 

J. Mark Schuster 

Research Division Report #41 

March 2000 

This monograph was funded by the Research Division, National Endowment for 
the Arts, under contract C97-49. The conclusions contained in this monograph 
are those of the author and do not represent the opinions of the National 
Endowment for the Arts or the United States government. 



National Endowment for the Arts 
Seven Locks Press 
Santa Ana, California 



Table of Contents 

Executive Summary 1 

1. The Basics of Participation Rates 9 

2. Confidence Intervals 42 

3. Participation by Region 58 

4. Other forms of Participation 61 

5. The Relationship Between Participation Rates — Regions 71 

6. The Relationship Between Participation Rates — States 77 

7. Explaining Variation in Participation Rates Across Regions 83 

8. Explaining Variations in Participation Rates Across States 95 

9. How to Change Participation Rates 105 

10. The Demographics of Audiences 115 

11. In Summary 168 

Notes 173 



IV 



I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture: A Research Monograph Based on the 1997 
Survey of Public Participation in the Arts is Report #41 in a series on matters of interest to the arts 
community commissioned by the Research Division of the National Endowment of the Arts. 

First printed in 2000 



Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 
is x available from the publisher 
ISBN 0-929765-87-7 



Printed in the United States of America 

Seven Locks Press 
Santa Ana, California 
800-354-5348 



VII 



The Geography of Participation 
in the Arts and Culture 



J. Mark Schuster 

Recent debates over the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts, 
coupled with calls for increasingly large proportions of that budget to be dis- 
tributed through the states, as well as significant changes in the state arts 
agencies' own budgets, are all factors that are increasing analytic attention on 
geographic patterns in American cultural life. Moreover, as renewed emphasis 
is placed on understanding what has worked and what has not worked in 
American cultural policy, it is only natural to want to observe variation in cul- 
tural support and policies in order to extract lessons from that variation. The 
natural place to turn is to the regions, the states, and to local communities in 
order to understand that variation and to enlist that understanding in a more 
nuanced consideration of cultural policies. Thus, it seems inevitable that ana- 
lytic attention will focus much more attention on the role of the states and 
regions in cultural policy, making it increasingly necessary to understand key 
variations in these patterns. 

This monograph focuses on participation rates in the arts and culture, 
exploring variations in those participation rates through an explicitly geo- 
graphic lens. In some sections, the emphasis will be on the variation in 
participation rates in various art forms across ten of the largest American states 
and across various demographic groups of individuals. In other sections, the 
emphasis will be on the variation in participation rates in various art forms 
across the nine regions of the country. Each of these approaches has advantages 
and disadvantages; by moving back and forth between them, it is my hope that 
a fuller and more responsible view of the geographic variation in participation 
rates can be developed. 

The key data source for this analysis is the 1997 Survey of Public 
Participation in the Arts, conducted on behalf of the National Endowment for 
the Arts. This survey is one of a wave of such surveys that have been conducted 
in the last fifteen to twenty years throughout the world. These surveys docu- 
ment the arts and cultural behavior patterns of various populations and develop 
a base line of statistics to which future change and evolution can be compared. 
Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has commissioned four such 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Selected Findings 

The basic findings concerning participation rates are presented in Sections 1 
and 2. These results include: 

• Generally speaking, these ten states have higher than average participation 
rates across all eight key art forms. 

• Some art forms (art museums and musical plays) enjoy high participation 
rates across the board, while others (opera and ballet, in particular) have 
much lower participation rates. 

• Certain states, most notably New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, 
stand out from the other six as states with generally high participation 
rates. Pennsylvania and Texas, on the other hand, systematically have 
lower than average participation rates. 

• Nevertheless, there is more variation across art forms than there is varia- 
tion across states, i.e., participation levels for a particular art form are 
quite similar across states while participation levels for each state vary 
quite widely across art forms. 

• Participation in the three other cultural activities is quite a bit higher than 
participation in the eight key art forms. 

• The data suggest that there may be some substitution among types of cul- 
tural participation, with the citizens of a particular state trading off 
participation in one art form with participation in another. The possibil- 
ity of substitution is particularly strong when considering the tradeoff 
between the eight key art forms and the other three types of cultural activ- 
ities, which are more popular in their appeal. 

• At a regional level, the highest participation rates can be found in New 
England, the Middle Atlantic region, and the Pacific region. New England 
has the highest participation rate for five of the eight key art forms and 
the second highest rate for two others. The East South Central region, on 
the other hand, reports the lowest participation rates for six of the eight 
art forms. The pattern differs somewhat for the three other cultural activ- 
ities, but the East South Central region still reports the lowest 
participation rates by a considerable margin. 

The SPPA also allows the measurement of participation in the arts and cul- 
ture through various media. These results are discussed in Section 3. 

• Nearly seven out of ten American adults report having participated in at 
least one of the eight key art forms through the medium of television or 



Acknowledgements 



In preparing this monograph I received invaluable assistance from my 
Research Assistant, Ming Zhang, who performed miracles with the data. I am 
also grateful to Kelly Barsdate of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, 
who through lengthy conversations helped shaped much of the content and for- 
mat of this monograph. Several staff members at the National Endowment for 
the Arts including Tom Bradshaw, Andi Mathis, and Bonnie Nichols read drafts 
of the monograph and made many useful suggestions. Thank you, one and all. 



Executive Summary 



With the new attention on cultural policy and cultural funding at the 
regional and state levels in the United States, it is becoming increasingly impor- 
tant to collect basic information on the arts and culture on a geographic basis. 
This monograph explores the geographic variation in the participation of the 
American adult population in arts and cultural activities. It is based primarily 
on data from the 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, the latest is a 
sequence of participation studies commissioned by the National Endowment for 
the Arts as a way of documenting the cultural consumption patterns of the 
American adult population. 

The primary goals of this monograph are twofold: 

• to establish a baseline of results on the geographic variation of participa- 
tion in the arts and cultural activities in the United States, and 

• to provide some preliminary analyses that suggest possible explanations 
for the observed geographic variations. 

The 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts was conducted at a scale 
sufficient to allow the consideration of participation levels as well as the con- 
struction of a series of profiles of the audiences for various art forms and 
cultural activities across all nine regions of the country. The data are such that 
they also allow an analysis at the state level for ten of the largest states: 
California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, 
Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Analyses at both the regional level and state 
level are reported in this monograph. 

The Survey of Public Participation in the Arts focuses on attendance at eight key 
art forms: jazz, classical music, opera, musical stage plays or operettas, non- 
musical stage plays, ballet, dance other than ballet, and art museums or art 
galleries. The data also allow a consideration of participation in three other cul- 
tural activities: reading literature, visiting historic parks or monuments, and 
visiting art or crafts fairs or festivals. A wide variety of ancillary analyses are 
possible as well, and several are reported in this monograph. 

It is rather difficult to summarize briefly all of the findings and results of the 
many analyses that we have conducted, given that they consider eleven art forms 
and cultural activities over nine regions and ten states in relationship to a wide vari- 
ety of other variables. In this summary we report some selected findings, hoping 
that they will encourage the reader to dig deeper into the following pages. 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Selected Findings 

The basic findings concerning participation rates are presented in Sections 1 
and 2. These results include: 

• Generally speaking, these ten states have higher than average participation 
rates across all eight key art forms. 

• Some art forms (art museums and musical plays) enjoy high participation 
rates across the board, while others (opera and ballet, in particular) have 
much lower participation rates. 

• Certain states, most notably New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, 
stand out from the other six as states with generally high participation 
rates. Pennsylvania and Texas, on the other hand, systematically have 
lower than average participation rates. 

• Nevertheless, there is more variation across art forms than there is varia- 
tion across states, i.e., participation levels for a particular art form are 
quite similar across states while participation levels for each state vary 
quite widely across art forms. 

• Participation in the three other cultural activities is quite a bit higher than 
participation in the eight key art forms. 

• The data suggest that there may be some substitution among types of cul- 
tural participation, with the citizens of a particular state trading off 
participation in one art form with participation in another. The possibil- 
ity of substitution is particularly strong when considering the tradeoff 
between the eight key art forms and the other three types of cultural activ- 
ities, which are more popular in their appeal. 

• At a regional level, the highest participation rates can be found in New 
England, the Middle Atlantic region, and the Pacific region. New England 
has the highest participation rate for five of the eight key art forms and 
the second highest rate for two others. The East South Central region, on 
the other hand, reports the lowest participation rates for six of the eight 
art forms. The pattern differs somewhat for the three other cultural activ- 
ities, but the East South Central region still reports the lowest 
participation rates by a considerable margin. 

The SPPA also allows the measurement of participation in the arts and cul- 
ture through various media. These results are discussed in Section 3. 

• Nearly seven out of ten American adults report having participated in at 
least one of the eight key art forms through the medium of television or 



Executive Summary ' 3 

video in the previous year. Among the ten states, this rate is highest in 
California and lowest in Pennsylvania. 

• Participation via radio is at a somewhat lower level; slightly less than six 
out of ten American adults report having participated in at least one of the 
eight key art forms via radio in the previous twelve months. 
Massachusetts and California show the highest levels of participation via 
radio broadcasts, and Ohio and Pennsylvania report the lowest levels. 

• Participation via listening to records, compact discs, or tape cassettes is 
lower still; slightly less than half of the adult population reports partici- 
pation via one of these media. New Jersey has the highest participation 
rate, followed by California. 

Section 4 of the monograph uses the SPPA data to gauge a more direct form 
of participation: participation through direct personal involvement in artistic 
creation or performance. 

• Five out of nine American adults report having been involved in one or 
another form of direct artistic creation in the previous twelve months. 
Higher than average levels of participation in creation are reported for 
Massachusetts and New Jersey; a lower than average level is reported in 
Pennsylvania. 

• Approximately four out of every ten American adults report participation 
in one or another art form through personal performance. Of the ten 
states considered here, Florida has the highest rate of participation in per- 
formance followed by Massachusetts. Ohio reports the lowest rate of 
participation in personal performance and California the second lowest. 

Sections 5 and 6 of the monograph ask what the relationship is between par- 
ticipation rates across art forms. Is relatively high participation in one art form 
accompanied by relatively high participation in another art form? Or does it 
tend to be accompanied by a relatively low participation rate? Or does there 
seem to be no relationship? Section 5 looks at this question from the perspec- 
tive of regions and Section 6 from the perspective of the ten states. 

• At the regional level, all of the participation rates are positively correlated 
with one another, whether they are for the eight key art forms or for the 
additional three cultural activities, and many of these correlations are 
quite high. Thus, at the regional level participation rates tend to parallel 
one another. High participation in one art form or cultural activity will be 
an indicator of high participation in another. 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



• At the state level, however, a slightly different pattern emerges. While the 
correlation coefficients for the eight key art forms are, with one exception, 
positive, they are not as strong as they are at the regional level. This is not 
too surprising because one would expect to observe more nuance and vari- 
ation at the lower geographic aggregation. When this analysis is extended 
to other cultural activities, however, negative correlations appear with 
respect to attendance at historic parks or monuments and attendance at 
art or crafts fairs or festivals, suggesting that at the state level there is some 
degree of substitution between participation in the eight key art forms and 
participation in these cultural activities. 

Sections 7 and 8 of the monograph begin to explore possible explanations for 
the observed geographic variations in participation rates. Section 7 looks at this 
question from the perspective of regions, Section 8 from the perspective of the 
ten states. In each section, two sets of independent variables are considered: 
ones that measure socio-economic characteristics of the area's population and 
ones that measure the presence of cultural organizations of various types. 

At the regional level: 

• Education, particularly as measured by the percentage of the adult popu- 
lation with a bachelor's degree, is an excellent predictor of participation 
rates in all of the art forms as well as in the three other cultural activities. 

• Median household income is positively correlated with participation in all 
of the art forms, while percentage below the poverty level is negatively 
correlated with ten of the eleven art forms and cultural activities. Median 
household income is the better predictor. 

• The percentage of the population that is minority has mixed value as a 
predictor of participation. The strongest correlations are with attendance 
at historic parks or monuments and attendance at fairs or festivals, sug- 
gesting that these cultural activities may be less attractive to minority 
audiences. 

• The density of the population as measured by persons per square mile is 
not a particularly good predictor of participation rates, .but two other 
indicators of urbanization — "percentage non-metropolitan" and "per- 
centage rural" — are both strongly negatively correlated with participation 
in each of the art forms, as one might expect. 



Executive Summary 



• The density of arts and cultural organizations when measured per capita 
is strongly and positively correlated with participation rates when the 
boundaries of the sectors for which the data have been collected are com- 
parable. When density is measured per square mile it is generally not as 
good a predictor. 

At the state level: 

• Education, at least as measured by the percentage of high school gradu- 
ates, is not a particularly good predictor of participation rates for these 
ten states. Percentage of the adult population with a bachelor's degree, on 
the other hand, is a much better predictor. 

• Median household income is positively correlated with participation in 
nine of the eleven art forms and cultural activities. Percentage below the 
poverty level is negatively correlated with participation in seven of the 
eleven art forms and cultural activities. 

• Percentage minority is once again a mixed predictor of participation rates. 

• Population per square mile is a very good predictor of participation rates 
in a number of art forms. Percentage non-metropolitan is a reasonably 
good predictor as well. Percentage rural is generally a less useful predic- 
tor. 

• At the state level, the density of arts and cultural organizations when 
measured per capita is moderately and positively correlated with partici- 
pation rates when the boundaries of the sectors for which the data have 
been collected are comparable. When density is measured per square mile, 
however, the correlation coefficients increase and a number of very strong 
correlations are observed, particularly with respect to attendance at both 
musical and non-musical plays. 

Do responses to the SPPA suggest points of leverage or particular policy 
instruments that might be particularly important in increasing participation 
rates? Section 9 explores this question by looking at three other sets of ques- 
tions asked in the survey: questions concerning interest in increased 
participation, questions concerning perceived barriers to increased participa- 
tion, and questions concerning various socialization experiences that might 
affect later participation in the arts and culture. 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



• Nearly two-thirds of the American adult population would like to attend 
art museums and galleries more often. Over half the population would 
like to attend both musical plays and non-musical plays more often. There 
is less interest in increased participation in the other art forms. 

• Residents of California, New York and New Jersey report more interest in 
increased participation for all of the eight key art forms than do the resi- 
dents of the United States on average. Because these three states generally 
turn up as high participation states m many of the analyses reported here, 
this might be due to a concentration of cultural institutions in these states 
raising the population's expectations or the demand of a population that, 
socio-economically, is particularly inclined toward these forms of cultural 
consumption. 

• Residents of Pennsylvania and Ohio, on the other hand, show less inter- 
est than average in increased participation. 

• "What is most important to notice, however, is that an interest in increased 
participation is expressed much more often by those who have attended a 
particular art form in the previous twelve months than by those who have 
not, and this is true irrespective of the state under consideration. 

• With respect to barriers to increased attendance, the most often cited rea- 
son, cited by nearly two-thirds of those who would like to attend more 
often, is a broad one: "It is difficult to make time to go out." Roughly half 
of those who would like to attend more often cite "Tickets are too expen- 
sive," "There are not many performances held or art museums or galleries 
in my area," and "The location is usually not convenient." These reasons 
are more susceptible to policy intervention. 

• Nearly half of American adults report having had lessons or classes in 
music at one time or another in their lives. Roughly one-quarter reports 
having taken lessons or a class in each of the following: the visual arts, cre- 
ative writing, art appreciation or art history, and music appreciation. 
Lower percentages have had acting or dance lessons. 

• California, Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey have higher than aver- 
age levels of socialization for all of the eight key art forms. Texas, on the 
other hand, has lower than average socialization levels. 

Finally, Section 10 of this monograph, uses the SPPA data to construct demo- 
graphic profiles of the audiences for various art forms, facilitating comparisons 



Executive Summary 



across art forms as well as across states. The analyses reported in this section 
consider four important demographic variables: education level, income level, 
race/ethnicity, and gender. A careful distinction is drawn in this section between 
an audience profile of visitors (separately identifiable individuals making no 
adjustment for their relative frequency of attendance) and an audience profile 
of visits (adjusting for the fact that some visitors attend more frequently than 
others). 

• Visitors are more highly distributed toward upper educational levels than 
the overall population, clearly indicating the importance of education in 
predicting whether someone will be a visitor to any of the art forms. 

• Because individuals with higher educational levels also have higher frequen- 
cies of attendance, the distribution of visits by educational level is even more 
highly skewed toward individuals with higher levels of education. 

• Upper income individuals are over-represented among visitors to each of 
the art forms. 

• Weighting individuals by their frequency of attendance and constructing 
an income distribution of visits results in a more complicated picture 
because frequency of attendance does not necessarily rise with household 
income and the pattern differs for different art forms. 

• With respect to race and ethnicity, the patterns become more complex. 
According to the SPPA data, members of certain minority groups are 
under-represented among visitors to some art forms, while they are over- 
represented among visitors to others. The same is true of the profile of 
visits to various art forms. 

• Women are over-represented among visitors to all of the eight key art 
forms except jazz. With respect to visits, however, they are under-repre- 
sented in the audiences for jazz, classical music, and dance forms other 
than ballet. 

Caveats 

While these are the main findings of this monograph, they only begin to 
scratch the surface of the detail contained in these pages. Before encouraging the 
reader to wade into the main text, however, it is necessary to add a few words 
of caution to aid in the interpretation of the findings. 



8 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



• Because the SPPA data are the result of sampling, all of the estimates of 
participation rates in this monograph are subject to random sampling 
error. Because of that error many of the observed differences in participa- 
tion rates may be attributable, at least in part, to random sampling error 
rather than to any real differences in participation rates. Only very large 
observed differences are likely to be immune from this complication. This 
issue is discussed at some length in Section 2 of the monograph, but is very 
much present in the other sections as well. 

• Each of the correlation analyses that looks at all of the ten identified states 
simultaneously needs to be understood in a rather modest manner. 
Because these ten states are not a simple random sample of the fifty states, 
the results of these analyses cannot be generalized to all of the states. They 
simply measure the correlation that one observes when looking at various 
pairs of variables across this particular set of ten states. 

These caveats notwithstanding, it is our hope that with the analyses contained 
in these pages we have begun a fruitful inquiry into the geographic variation in par- 
ticipation across the United States. Perhaps the SPPA does not afford the ability to 
produce the definitive analysis that might be desirable, but it does provide a solid 
base of data on which future research and inquiry can be developed. 



1. The Basics of Participation Rates 



This monograph is based on an analysis of participation rates in various arts 
and cultural activities by the American adult population eighteen years of age 
or older. Simply put, the participation rate for a particular activity is the per- 
centage of the adult population that, when asked whether he or she has 
participated in that activity in the previous twelve months, answers "Yes." As 
participation studies have joined (and perhaps even eclipsed) audience studies 
as a mode of studying the cultural behavior of populations, participation rates 
have become an important benchmark, indicating the level of cultural activity 
of a population and offering a profile of engagement in the various cultural 
activities that are investigated. 

Eight Key Questions 

The 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts contained eight key ques- 
tions that will command most of our attention: 

The Eight Key Participation Questions 

• With the exception of elementary, middle, or high school per- 
formances, did you go to a live jazz performance during the 
last twelve months} 

• With the exception of elementary, middle, or high school per- 
formances, did you go to a live classical music performance 
such as symphony, chamber, or choral music during the last 
twelve months} 

• With the exception of elementary, middle, or high school per- 
formances, did you go to a live opera during the last twelve 
months} 

• With the exception of elementary, middle, or high school per- 
formances, did you go to a live musical stage play or an 
operetta during the last twelve months} 

• With the exception of elementary, middle, or high school per- 
formances, did you go to a live performance of a non-musical 
stage play during the last twelve months} 



10 i The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



• With the exception of elementary, middle, or high school per- 
formances, did you go to a live ballet performance during the 
last twelve months} 

• With the exception of elementary, middle, or high school per- 
formances, did you go to a live dance performance other than 
ballet, such as modern, folk, or tap during the last twelve 
months? 

• During the last twelve months, did you visit an art museum 
or gallery? 

Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 

As you read this monograph, you may find it useful to refer back to this list 
of questions from time to time in order to remind yourself just what is being 
measured through the various participation rates. Throughout the analysis that 
follows, a shorthand method to identify each of these eight art forms has been 
adopted, referring to them simply as "jazz," "classical music," "opera," "bal- 
let," "other dance," "musical play," "non-musical play," and "art 
museum/gallery." While this shorthand method neglects some of the nuances in 
the original questions, arguably, the essential differences among the art forms 
delineated in the eight separate questions are maintained. 

Ten States and Nine Regions 

The goal of this monograph is to document and explore geographical differ- 
ences in participation rates across the United States. Particular attention will be 
paid to participation rates at the state level, but at several points in the analysis 
attention will shift to the more highly aggregated regional level. 

One's ability to use the SPPA to explore differences across states is limited by 
the mathematics of sampling. Because the Survey of Public Participation in the 
Arts is based on a sample of the American adult population, one needs to be 
wary about the extent to which the conclusions that can be drawn from the data 
are affected by relative sample sizes. This particularly becomes a concern as one 
begins to disaggregate the overall sample into smaller geographic units (as well 
as according to the values of other variables of interest). Even though the SPPA 
sample ultimately included some 12,349 responses drawn from throughout the 
United States, only ten states have sufficient responses to be able to draw con- 
clusions with a sufficient degree of confidence. Thus, any analysis of the SPPA 
data by state must perforce be restricted to these ten states. 



The Basics of Participation Rates ' 1 1 



Nine of the ten states for which there are sufficient data to justify separate atten- 
tion are, as one would expect, the nine states with the largest populations: 
California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, 
and Texas. These nine are joined by the state of Massachusetts, which is actually 
the thirteenth state by population size. The sample size for Massachusetts was 
increased to allow for a sufficient number of cases in the final dataset so that par- 
ticipation in the Boston metropolitan area could be compared to participation in 
other major metropolitan areas in the United States. 

Why are these technical points important? As we consider differences in par- 
ticipation rates across states in the pages that follow, it will be necessary to 
remember, first of all, that we are not able to draw conclusions about differences 
or relationships across the fifty United States. We will be measuring differences and 
relationships for only a particular subset of the fifty states, and the extent to which 
we can argue that the findings would likely apply to all fifty states — if viewed 
simultaneously — is limited. Moreover, though it may be tempting to say that the 
analysis that we have conducted applies to the largest states, even that simple state- 
ment is not technically correct. Because it will become tedious to constantly caveat 
the discussions that follow with these points, let it suffice to say at the outset that 
the conclusions that are drawn here with respect to participation rates at the state 
level apply to these ten states and to these ten states alone. (This is why, for exam- 
ple, that these ten states are not treated in this analysis as though they are a simple 
random sample of the fifty states.) 

At certain points in the analysis it will be advantageous to look at the entire 
country and that requires moving up to the regional level of aggregation because 
only at the regional level are the sample sizes sufficient to allow complete coverage 
of the country. The regional definitions that are used here are the following: 1 

New England: Massachusetts, Maine, Hew Hampshire, 

Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island 
Mid-Atlantic: New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey 

South Atlantic: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North 

Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, District of 
Columbia, Maryland, and Delaware 
East North Central: Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana 

West North Central: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, 

Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri 
East South Central: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama 

West South Central: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana 



1 2 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Mountain: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, 

Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico 

Pacific: California, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and 

Washington 

Yet, a regional analysis may come at the cost of losing important variation in 
participation rates that may only be revealed at lower levels of geographic 
aggregation. Thus,, the decision to conduct a geographic analysis of participa- 
tion rates by state as opposed to region involves an analytical trade-off that it 
will be important for us to remain aware of in later chapters. 

With these caveats in mind, I turn first to a consideration of participation 
rates by art form and by state. 

Base Participation Rates 

Table 1.1 summarizes the participation rates for the eight key art forms by state 
and is probably the most important table in this monograph. This table forms the 
basic reference point back to which much of the later analysis will refer. 

This table is constructed to facilitate a number of different comparisons of 
interest. Scanning across the rows of Table 1.1, one can make comparisons 
within states across art forms. Considering the data in this way leads to the first 
important observation. The eight forms can be roughly separated into three 
groups by virtue of their participation levels. Relatively speaking, high partici- 
pation rates are reported for attendance at art museums and galleries and for 
attendance at musical plays. 2 Overall, slightly more than a third of the American 
adult population reports having attended an art museum or gallery in the pre- 
vious year; one-quarter of the American adult population reports having 
attended a musical play over the same period. At the other extreme, quite low 
participation rates are reported for opera — 4.7 percent — and for ballet — 5.8 
percent. The other four art forms fall in between at what might be called mod- 
erate levels: jazz at 11.9 percent, dance other than ballet at 12.4 percent, 
classical music at 15.6 percent, and plays other than musicals at 15.8 percent. 
This overall pattern is repeated for each state: art museums and galleries and 
musical plays have the highest participation rates, and opera and ballet have the 
lowest participation rates, irrespective of the state under consideration. It must 
be noted, of course, that some of the differences in participation rates may be 
attributable primarily to the narrowness or broadness of the definition used for 
each art form; one would expect, for example, that the participation rate for 
other dance would be higher than the participation rate for ballet because of the 
number of possible dance forms subsumed under "other" dance. 



The Basics of Participation Rates 13 



One can also make comparisons down the columns of Table 1.1, constitut- 
ing a comparison by art form. At the bottom of each column of Table 1.1, an 
aggregate participation rate in each art form for the entire United States is 
reported, so that one can easily tell whether a particular state falls above or 
below the national average for that art form. An aggregate participation rate for 
all of the other states (minus these ten) is also reported, giving a sense of how 
each state compares to the average of the rest of the United States. 



14 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



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The Basics of Participation Rates i 15 



Generally speaking, these 10 states show higher than average participation 
rates across the art forms. For each art form either seven or eight of these ten 
states have participation rates that are equal to or higher than the national aver- 
age. What is particularly interesting is that even though the states that fall below 
the national average vary from art form to art form, there is considerable over- 
lap, suggesting that it might be worthwhile exploring why that is the case. What 
is it that leads some states to have lower participation rates than others and why 
does this vary by art form? This will be addressed from a variety of perspectives 
in later sections of this monograph. 

Figures 1.1 through 1.8 provide a graphical presentation of the participation 
rates for these ten states for each of the eight art forms. In each case, the states 
are ordered from the lowest participation rate to the highest participation rate 
for that art form, and a horizontal line indicates the overall participation rate 
for the United States. In comparing these figures, note that Figures 1.6 and 1.8 
have different vertical scales from the others. This is to allow a clear presenta- 
tion of the higher participation rates experienced for musical plays and for art 
museums and galleries. 

Pennsylvania and Texas fall below the national average for participation in 
jazz (Figure 1.1). These same states fall right at the national average for partic- 
ipation in classical music, while Massachusetts has an unusually high 
participation rate (Figure 1.2). With respect to opera, Texas and Florida are the 
states in this study that are identifiable as falling below the national average 
(Figure 1.2). With respect to ballet, however, it is Illinois, New Jersey, and 
California among this group who fall below the national average (Figure 1.4). 
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan have participation rates that are lower than 
average for other dance forms (Figure 1.5). Florida and Texas fall below the 
national average for participation at musical plays (Figure 1.6), while Ohio, 
Pennsylvania, and Michigan fall below the national average for participation at 
non-musical plays (Figure 1.7). Finally, Ohio and Pennsylvania have participa- 
tion rates that fall below the national average for art museums and galleries, 
while Massachusetts' participation rate is conspicuously higher than all the oth- 
ers (Figure 1.8). 

While it is tempting, of course, to interpret a state's success (or failure) by the 
number of times it falls above or below the respective national averages (a topic 
that is discussed later in this section), it is also tempting to consider the degree 
to which it falls above or below the national average for each art form. Figures 
1.1 through 1.8 call for such a comparison. 



16 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



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24 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Two ways of making such a comparison are summarized in Tables 1.2a and 
1.2b. Table 1.2a makes the simplest such comparison; for each art form it takes 
the participation rate for each state and subtracts from it the average participa- 
tion rate for the entire United States. Thus, the entries in this table are the 
number of percentage points that each state is higher than (positive signs) or 
lower than (negative signs) the respective national average. Arbitrarily setting a 
difference of ± five percentage points as worthy of note, one finds relatively few 
such variations. Participation rates in Massachusetts are 8.7 percentage points 
higher than the national average for classical music, 6.1 percentage points higher 
for musical plays, 5.4 percentage points higher for non-musical plays, and 13.2 
percentage points higher for art museums and galleries. In New Jersey, participa- 
tion rates are 8.4 percentage points higher than the national average for musical 
plays, 6.4 percentage points higher for non-musical plays, and 5.4 percentage 
points higher for art museums and galleries. In New York, they are 8.6 percentage 
points higher than the national average for musical plays and 6.6 percentage points 
higher for art museums and galleries. Finally, in Michigan, the participation rate in 
musical plays is 5.7 percentage points higher than the national average. It is inter- 
esting to note that the major differences are noted with respect to attendance at the 
theater and at art museums and art galleries, suggesting, perhaps, that part of the 
explanation of differences in participation rates across states may be related to the 
geographic distribution of arts institutions. 

Focusing on the other side of the ledger, none of these states shows a partic- 
ipation rate that is more than five percentage points lower than the 
corresponding national average (though there may well be states among the 
remaining forty with such participation rates). 

Table 1.2b, on the other hand, compares participation rates in each state 
with the overall participation rate by using a different metric. It is based on the 
reasonable assertion that a given percentage point difference is relatively more 
important for a low participation rate art form than for a high participation rate 
art form, e.g. a difference of one or two percentage points in participation rates 
for art museums and galleries, which enjoy participation rates in the high thirty 
percent range, is less significant than a difference of one or two percentage 
points in participation rates for opera, whose overall participation rate is less 
than five percent to begin with. Accordingly, Table 1.2b takes the participation 
rate for each state, subtracts from it the average participation rate for the entire 
United States, and then divides by the average participation rate for the entire 
United States, resulting in a figure that represents each state's participation rate 
as a percentage of the national average. 



The Basics of Participation Rates i 25 



To make sense of Table 1.2b, let me once again adopt an arbitrary bench- 
mark — ± 30 percent — and use it to identify unusually large deviations from the 
national average. Seen through the perspective of this indicator, Massachusetts 
evidences the most extreme behavior. Its participation rate for classical music is 
nearly 56 percent higher than the national average and its participation rate for 
ballet is over 62 percent higher than the national average. Its participation rates 
for non-musical plays and for art museums are, respectively, 34 percent and 
nearly 38 percent higher than the corresponding national averages. In New 
York, the participation rate for opera is 53 percent higher than the national 
average; the participation rate for ballet is 55 percent higher; and the participa- 
tion rate for musical plays is 35 percent higher. Similarly, in New Jersey the 
participation rate for musical plays is 34 percent higher than the national aver- 
age, and the participation rate in non-musical plays is more than 40 percent 
higher. In California, the participation rate for opera is 36 percent higher than 
the national average, while in Texas, that participation rate is nearly 32 percent 
lower than the national average. Yet, in Texas the participation rate for ballet is 
more than 36 percent higher than the national average. Note that, seen from 
this perspective, opera and ballet join the theater and art museums as sectors 
that enjoy quite a bit higher than average participation rates among these ten 
states. But remember, there may well be other states whose participation rates 
are just as high or as low as the participation rates in the included states but are 
not reported separately because of the relatively small sample size for that state. 



26 



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The Basics of Participation Rates 



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28 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



League Tables 

With all of these results it is tempting to ask whether one can conclude that 
the citizens of one state participate more in the arts than the citizens of another. 
Is it possible to construct one league table to summarize that overall level of 
participation? Despite all of the caveats in the interpretation of these data that 
we have accumulated already, not the least of which is the possible unrepresen- 
tativeness of these ten states, constructing a couple of different league tables 
might help tease out some of the essential differences in participation rates, at 
least among these ten states. 

Table 1.3 offers one quick way of constructing such a league table. The pro- 
cedure used to construct this table is the following: First, the participation rates 
for each art form were converted to ranks. Thus, the state with the highest par- 
ticipation rate for that art form was assigned a rank of 1, the state with the 
second highest participation rate was assigned a rank of 2, and so on. Then, for 
each state a mean rank was calculated across the eight art forms, and the rows 
of the table were sorted so that the state with the highest average rank appears 
first. Finally, the standard deviation in ranks for each state was also calculated. 
It is important to note a couple of the mathematical properties of this proce- 
dure: (1) the replacement of participation rates with ranks replaces a metric 
measure with an ordinal measure thereby losing the more detailed mathemati- 
cal information contained in the actual participation rates but focusing, instead, 
on order alone; and (2) averaging the ranks across the eight art forms treats 
them as mathematical equivalents — no weights are used to value certain art 
forms more highly than others. 

Several findings of note can be extracted from Table 1.3. New York and 
Massachusetts are the two states with the highest average participation rank- 
ings and they are quite clearly separated from the rest. At the other end, 
Pennsylvania, Texas, and Ohio are the three states with the lowest average par- 
ticipation rankings. Whatever else is true concerning the details of the 
participation rates for particular states in specified art forms, these states stand 
out among these ten as having, respectively, the highest or the lowest participa- 
tion rates. The standard deviations are also of considerable interest here. The 
fact that the standard deviation in rankings is so much less for New York and 
for Pennsylvania than it is for any of the other states indicates that there is very 
little variation in these states' rankings. In other words, among these ten states 
New York's participation rate rankings are high and they tend to be high across 
all the art forms, whereas Pennsylvania's are low and they tend to be low across 
all the art forms. 



The Basics of Participation Rates 



29 



Another approach to constructing a league table is offered in Table 1.4. The 
analysis in this table recognizes the fact that art forms might be substitutes for 
one another, with, for example, residents of one state are more likely to attend 
musical plays than non-musical plays and residents of another state more likely 
to attend non-musical plays than musical plays. Here the central indicator is a 
participation rate that measures the percentage of the adult population that has 
participated in any one of the eight art forms; in other words, it measures the 
participation rate for the union of the eight art forms. 

Viewed from this perspective, the ordering of the league table changes some- 
what. New Jersey and Massachusetts head the list with just slightly more than 
60 percent of the population indicating that they participated in at least one of 
the eight key art forms in the previous year. At the low end is Texas with just 
slightly less than half of the population having participated in at least one of 
these art forms. 

Table 1.3: 

Analysis of Ranks of Participation Rates 

Across Eight Art Forms by State, 1997 



State 



Mean Rank 

Across Eight 

Art Forms 



Standard Deviation 
in Ranks Across 
Eight Art Forms 



New York 

Massachusetts 

New Jersey 

California 

Michigan 

Illinois 

Florida 

Ohio 

Texas 

Pennsylvania 



2.4 
2.8 
4.3 
5.1 
5.4 
5.9 
6.0 
7.3 
7.6 
8.4 



1.1 
2.2 
2.4 
2.2 
2.2 
2.6 
2.4 
2.2 
2.3 
1.7 



Note: This table is calculated by first ranking each state according to its participation rate for 
each art form. These rankings range from 1=highest to 10=lowest for each art form. Then the 
mean rank and the standard deviation in ranks are calculated for each state across the eight art 
forms. The lower the mean rank the higher the participation rates of a particular state relative to 
the other states in this group of ten states. 



Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



30 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Table 1.4: 
Participation Rates by State for Various Combinations 

of Art Forms, 1997 



State 


All Arts 


Benchmark Arts 


All Performing Arts 


Benchmark 




(Bght Art Forms) 




(Seven Art Forms) 


Performing Arts 


New Jersey 


60.9% 


59.1% 


52.2% 


49.2% 


Massachusetts 


60.5% 


59.1% 


50.6% 


48.8% 


New York 


. 58.0% 


57.3% 


48.9% 


47.5% 


Illinois 


56.9% 


54.4% 


48.0% 


44.1% 


Michigan 


55.6% 


54.7% 


47.1% 


46.0% 


California 


54.8% 


52.8% 


43.7% 


40.4% 


Pennsylvania 


53.1% 


51.5% 


43.6% 


41.2% 


Florida 


51.1% 


49.5% 


43.0% 


40.2% 


Ohio 


50.9% 


49.4% 


44.4% 


42.0% 


Texas 


49.8% 


47.2% 


41.7% 


38.2% 


All Other States 


48.4% 


46.8% 


38.6% 


36.1% 


United States 


51.6% 


49.9% 


42.2% 


39.6% 



Notes: "All Arts" includes the eight core art forms: jazz, classical music, opera, ballet, other dance, 
musical play, non-musical play, and art museum/gallery. "Benchmark Arts" deletes the category of 
"other dance." This grouping is designed to be comparable to groupings created from data in earlier 
Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts and, accordingly, is only of interest in comparing these results 
to results from earlier SPPAs. "All Performing Arts" includes the seven core performing art forms: jazz, 
classical music, opera, ballet, other dance, musical play, and non-musical play. "Benchmark Performing 
Arts" deletes the category of "other dance." This grouping is designed to be comparable to groupings 
created from data in earlier Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts and, accordingly, is only of inter- 
est in comparing these results to results from earlier SPPAs. 

The rows of this table have been sorted so that the states are ordered according to the participation 
rate for all eight art forms taken together (Column 1). 

Source: 1 997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



The Basics of Participation Rates I 31 



Tables 1.5a and 1.5b are equivalent to Tables 1.2a and 1.2b considered ear- 
lier; they look at each state and ask, respectively, how many percentage points 
above or below the national average the aggregate participation rate is for that 
state and what percentage above or below the national average the aggregate 
participation rate is for that state. Seven of these ten states have aggregate par- 
ticipation rates above the national average (Table 1.5a), with Illinois, New 
York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey all having a rate at least five percentage 
points higher than the overall average. These results are essentially replicated in 
Table 1.5b, though in percentage rather than percentage point terms. 

Tables 1.4, 1.5a, and 1.5b also report results for three alternative ways of 
aggregating participation rates. In each of these tables the second column refers 
to the "Benchmark Arts," which include all of the eight art forms except "other 
dance." This aggregation is only of interest if one wishes to make comparisons 
to analyses conducted with earlier versions of the Survey of Public Participation 
in the Arts, as those earlier versions did not include a question concerning par- 
ticipation in dance other than ballet. The third column looks at the performing 
arts alone, omitting art museums and galleries from consideration. And, finally, 
the fourth column looks at the "Benchmark Performing Arts," once again delet- 
ing "other dance" for the sake of comparability with earlier versions of SPPA. 



32 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Table 1.5a: 

Comparison of Participation Rates for Each State with Overall 

Participation Rates for Various Combinations of Art Forms, 1997 

(percentage point differences) 



State 


All Arts 


Benchmark Arts 


All Performing Arts 


Benchmark 




(Eight Art Forms) 




(Seven Art Forms) 


Performing Arts 


New Jersey 


+9.3 


+9.2 


+ 10.0 


+9.6 


Massachusetts 


- +8.9 


+9.2 


+8.4 


+9.2 


New York 


+6.4 


+7.4 


+6.7 


+7.9 


Illinois 


+5.3 


+4.5 


+5.8 


+4.5 


Michigan 


+4.0 


+4.8 


+4.9 


+6.4 


California 


+3.2 


+2.9 


+ 1.5 


+0.8 


Pennsylvania 


+ 1.5 


+1.6 


+1.4 


+ 1.6 


Florida 


-0.5 


-0.4 


+0.8 


+0.6 


Ohio 


-0.7 


-0.5 


+2.2 


+2.4 


Texas 


-1.8 


-2.7 


-0.5 


-1.4 


All Other States 


-3.2 


-3.1 


-3.6 


-3.5 



Notes: "All Arts" includes the eight core art forms: jazz, classical music, opera, ballet, other dance, 
musical play, non-musical play, and art museum/gallery. "Benchmark Arts" deletes the category of 
"other dance." This grouping is designed to be comparable to groupings created from data in ear- 
lier Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts and, accordingly, is only of interest in comparing these 
results to results from earlier SPPAs. "All Performing Arts" includes the seven core performing art 
forms: jazz, classical music, opera, ballet, other dance, .musical play, and non-musical play. 
"Benchmark Performing Arts" deletes the category of "other dance." This grouping is designed to 
be comparable to groupings created from data in earlier Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts 
and, accordingly, is only of interest in comparing these results to results from earlier SPPAs. 

Each entry in this table is the number of percentage points each state's participation rate is higher 
or lower than the corresponding overall participation rate for the United States. For example, the 
California participation rate in All Arts is 3.2 percentage points higher than the participation rate for 
All Arts in the United States as a whole. 

The rows of this table have been sorted so that the states are ordered according to the participa- 
tion rate for all eight art forms taken together (Column 1 of Table 1.4). 

Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



The Basics of Participation Rates 



33 



Table 1.5b: 

Comparison of Participation Rates for Each State with Overall 

Participation Rates for Various Combinations of Art Forms, 1997 

(difference as a percentage of overall participation rate) 



State 


All Arts 


Benchmark Arts 


All Performing Arts 


Benchmark 




(Eight Art Forms) 




(Seven Art Forms) 


Performing Arts 


New Jersey 


+18.0% 


+ 18.4% 


+23.7% 


+24.2% 


Massachusetts 


+ 17.2% 


+ 18.4% 


+ 19.9% 


+23.2% 


New York 


+ 12.4% 


+ 14.8% 


+ 15.9% 


+ 19.9% 


Illinois 


+ 10.3% 


+9.0% 


+ 13.7% 


+ 11.4% 


Michigan 


+7.8% 


+9.6% 


+11.6% 


+ 16.2% 


California 


+6.2% 


+5.8% 


+3.6% 


+2.0% 


Pennsylvania 


+2.9% 


+3.2% 


+3.3% 


+4.0% 


Florida 


-1.0% 


-0.8% 


+ 1.9% 


+ 1.5% 


Ohio 


-1.4% 


-1.0% 


+5.2% 


+6.1% 


Texas 


-3.5% 


-5.4% 


-1.2% 


-3.5% 


All Other States 


-6.2% 


-6.2% 


-8.5% 


-8.8% 



Notes: "All Arts" includes the eight core art forms: jazz, classical music, opera, ballet, other dance, 
musical plays, non-musical play, and art museum/gallery. "Benchmark Arts" deletes the category 
of "other dance." This grouping is designed to be comparable to groupings created from data in 
earlier Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts and, accordingly, is only of interest in comparing 
these results to results from earlier SPPAs. "All Performing Arts" includes the seven core per- 
forming art forms: jazz, classical music, opera, ballet, other dance, musical play, and non-musical 
play. "Benchmark Performing Arts" deletes the category of "other dance." This grouping is 
designed to be comparable to groupings created from data in earlier Surveys of Public Participation 
in the Arts and, accordingly, is only of interest in comparing these results to results from earlier 
SPPAs. 

Each entry in this table is the percentage that each state's participation rate is higher or lower than 
the corresponding overall participation rate for the United States. For example, the California par- 
ticipation rate in All Arts is 6.2 percent higher than the participation rate for All Arts in the United 
States as a whole. 

The rows of this table have been sorted so that the states are ordered according to the participa- 
tion rate for all eight art forms taken together (Column 1 of Table 1.4). 

Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



34 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Three Additional Questions: Other Cultural Activities 

Among the questions that were asked of all of the respondents to the Survey 
of Public Participation and the Arts were three additional questions concerning 
participation in other arts and cultural activities. 3 Expanding our attention to 
these art forms clearly brings into the picture several other modes of cultural 
participation, modes that are perhaps somewhat less identified with the tradi- 
tional definition of "the arts and culture." Moreover, it is useful to conclude this 
section of the monograph with a consideration of these forms of participation, 
as they reveal a somewhat different geographic pattern than the art forms that 
we have considered up to this point. 

Three Additional Participation Questions 

• With the exception of books required for work or school, did 
you read any books during the last twelve months! Did you 
read any plays? Did you read any poetry? Did you read any 
novels or short stories? 

• During the last twelve months, did you visit an historic park 
or monument, or tour buildings or neighborhoods for their 
historic or design value? 

• During the last twelve months, did you visit an art fair or fes- 
tival, or a craft fair or festival? 

Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 

To facilitate comparison with other monographs that are being written based 
on the 1997 SPPA, the responses to the question on reading have been modified 
to reflect reading "literature" rather than just reading any book. Any respon- 
dent who answered "Yes" to having read a play, poetry, or a novel or short 
srories was considered to have read literature. (If one had used, instead, the def- 
inition of reading as having read a book of any type, somewhat higher 
participation rates would have resulted. 4 ) 

Table 1.6 reports the participation rates for these other cultural activities. 
Several things are striking about these participation rates. The participation 
rates are substantially higher than the participation rates for any of the eight key 
art forms. Among the American adult population, these are clearly more popu- 
lar activities. Nearly, two thirds of the American adult population report having 
read a piece of literature in the preceding year. Nearly half report having visited 



The Basics of Participation Rates • 35 



an historic park or monument, and, similarly, nearly half report having visited 
an arts or crafts fair or festival. 

Figures 1.9, 1.10, and 1.11 depict the participation rates in each of these 
activities by state and compare them to the overall participation rate for the 
United States. With respect to reading literature (Figure 1.9), the participation 
rate for each of these ten states is quite high (as is the overall rate), but 
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and New York fall below the national average. For 
attendance at historic parks or monuments (Figure 1.10), residents of Michigan, 
Ohio, California, and Texas participate less than average, while residents of 
Massachusetts participate at a considerably higher rate than average. Finally, 
residents of New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and California show 
lower participation rates than average when it comes to participating in arts or 
crafts fairs and festivals (Figure 1.11). Note that all of these states except Texas 
have consistently shown higher than average participation rates in the previous 
sections of this analysis. 



Table 1.6: 
Participation Rates in Other Cultural Activities by State, 1997 

State Reading Historic Parks Art or Crafts 

Literature or Monuments Fairs or Festivals 

California 

Florida 

Illinois 

Massachusetts 

Michigan 

New Jersey 

New York 

Ohio 

Pennsylvania 

Texas 

All Other States 

United States 

Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



66.1% 


44.5% 


46.9% 


63.2% 


47.8% 


49.2% 


62.3% 


49.7% 


51.0% 


69.8% 


58.7% 


45.4% 


64.1% 


40.7% 


56.7% 


69.5% 


50.6% 


43.9% 


62.8% 


46.7% 


45.2% 


61.5% 


42.8% 


54.8% 


60.7% 


49.1% 


50.4% 


63.9% 


45.3% 


46.4% 


62.0% 


47.2% 


46.3% 


63.1% 


46.9% 


47.5% 



36 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



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The Basics of Participation Rates 



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38 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



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The Basics of Participation Rates I 39 



Following the dual approach used earlier, Tables 1.7a and 1.7b consider the 
degree to which each state's participation rates in these three additional cultural 
activities differ from national averages. Massachusetts and Michigan are the 
states that stand out when considering straight percentage point differences 
(Table 1.7a): participation in reading literature in Massachusetts is 6.7 percent- 
age points above the national average and the participation rate that is derived 
from visiting historic parks or monuments is an impressive 11.8 percentage 
points above the national average; participation in art or crafts fairs or festivals 
is 9.2 percentage points above the national average in Michigan, but participa- 
tion via visiting historic parks or monuments is 6.2 percentage points lower 
than the national average. Considering percentage point differences as a per- 
centage of the overall national participation rate (Table 1.7b), focuses attention 
on Massachusetts and Michigan but also highlights New Jersey, whose partici- 
pation rate in reading literature is 10.1 percent higher than the national average, 
and Ohio, whose participation rate in arts or crafts fairs or festivals is 15.4 per- 
cent higher than the national average. 

The other finding that emerges from these tables is the suggestion that there 
may be some substitution between forms of cultural expression and participa- 
tion, particularly when it comes to the relationship between the eight key art 
forms considered earlier and the more popular art forms considered here. This 
phenomenon is perhaps clearest when correlating the participation rates in arts 
or crafts fairs in these ten states with their participation rates in each of the eight 
key art forms. These relationships will be explored more carefully in Section 6 
of this monograph. 

Beyond the Basics 

This concludes a first tour of the basic participation rates in each of these ten 
states. We have seen that there is a noticeable variation across states and con- 
siderable variation across art forms. Some patterns have begun to emerge. 
Participation rates vary, but they vary systematically, across art forms with 
some art forms enjoying high participation rates and others having only mod- 
erate or low participation rates. Certain states, most notably New York, 
Massachusetts, and New Jersey have begun to stand out from the other seven 
states as states with higher participation rates. On the other hand, Pennsylvania 
and Texas emerge as systematically having lower than average participation 
rates. We have seen the suggestion that there may be some substitution among 
types of cultural participation with the citizens of a particular state trading off 



40 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



participation in one art form with participation in another. This substitution 
may occur among the eight key art forms themselves or may occur across the 
divide between more highly institutionalized and less highly institutionalized art 
forms or the divide between more elite and more popular art forms. This ques- 
tion will be explored further in Sections 5 and 6 of this monograph. 

Though we have not yet begun a systematic consideration of why we see such 
a variation in participation rates, we have also begun to see hints of explanations 
for the variation in participation rates that we have observed. A variety of possible 
explanations will be explored in Sections 7, 8, 9, and 10 of this monograph. 

In Section 2, 1 turn to the question of how a statistician might view the results 
that have been reported so far, recognizing the possibility that much of the vari- 
ation observed may simply be due to the random variation that occurs when 
samples, rather than population censuses, are used as the basis of study. Sections 3 
and 4 extend the presentation of base participation rates in Section 1. Section 3 
documents participation by region of the United States, a higher level of geo- 
graphic aggregation. Section 4 looks at other forms of participation in the arts 
in culture: participation via the media, participation through personal creation, 
and participation through personal performance. 

Table 1.7a: 

Comparison of Participation Rates for Each State with Overall 

Participation Rates for Other Cultural Activities, 1997 

(percentage point differences) 

State Reading Historic Parks Art or Crafts 

Literature or Monuments Fairs or Festivals 

California 

Florida 

Illinois 

Massachusetts 

Michigan 

New Jersey 

New York 

Ohio 

Pennsylvania 

Texas 

All Other States -1.1 +0.3 -1.2 

Note: Each entry in this table is the number of percentage points each state's participation rate is 
higher or lower than the corresponding overall participation rate for the United States. For exam- 
ple, the Massachusetts participation rate in reading literature is 6.7 percentage points higher than 
the participation rate for reading literature in the United States as a whole. 

Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



+3.0 


-2.4 


+0.6 


+0.1 


+0.9 


+ 1.7 


-0.8 


+2.8 


+3.5 


+6.7 


+11.8 


-2.1 


+ 1.0 


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+9.2 


+6.4 


+3.7 


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-0.2 


-2.3 


-1.6 


-4.1 


+7.3 


-2.4 


+2.2 


+2.9 


+0.8 


-1.6 


-1.1 



The Basics of Participation Rates I 41 



Table 1.7b: 

Comparison of Participation Rates for Each State with Overall 

Participation Rates for Other Cultural Activities, 1997 

(difference as a percentage of overall participation rate) 

State Reading Historic Parks Art or Crafts 

Literature or Monuments Fairs or Festivals 

California 

Florida 

Illinois 

Massachusetts 

Michigan 

New Jersey 

New York 

Ohio 

Pennsylvania 

Texas 

All Other States -1.7% +0.6% -2.5% 

Note: Each entry in this table is the percentage that each state's participation rate is higher or lower 
than the corresponding overall participation rate for the United States. For example, the 
Massachusetts participation rate in reading literature is 10.6 percent higher than the participation 
rate for reading literature in the United States as a whole. 

Source: 1 997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



+4.8% 


-5.1% 


-1.3% 


+0.2% 


+ 1.9% 


+3.6% 


-1.3% 


+6.0% 


+7.4% 


+ 10.6% 


+25.2% 


-4.4% 


+ 1.6% 


-13.2% 


+19.4% 


+ 10.1% 


+7.9% 


-7.6% 


-0.5% 


-0.4% 


-4.8% 


-2.5% 


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+15.4% 


-3.8% 


+4.7% 


+6.1% 


+ 1.3% 


-3.4% 


-2.3% 



42 



2. Confidence Intervals — 

A Statistician's Look at Participation Rates 



Because the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, like all surveys, is 
based on samples, one needs to be particularly careful in interpreting its results. 
Section 1 has already pointed to one problem that derives from the fact that the 
SPPA is based on samples, the fact that only ten states have sufficient sample 
sizes to separate them out for detailed attention and that these ten states are in 
no meaningful way representative of the entire population of fifty states. This 
section of the monograph deals with a second sampling issue, the error that 
comes from the process of sampling itself. Though this section is rather techni- 
cal, it is a necessary step toward a fuller understanding and interpretation of the 
participation rates that are estimated in this monograph. 

Estimating from Samples 

The participation rates that have been presented in Section 1 are all point 
estimates of the actual participation rates in which we are interested. They are 
estimates because they are all based on sample data yet they are being used to 
describe the (unknown) participation rates in various populations, e.g. the par- 
ticipation rate in opera of the entire adult population of the state of Ohio. They 
are point estimates because they are the single best estimate that we have at our 
disposal. 

In the absence of a census of the adult population, one can never know the 
actual participation rates in that population (or its subpopulations) with cer- 
tainty. Therefore, one has to account for the error in estimation that comes from 
the process of sampling itself. The technique that is used to account for this 
error is to calculate a second estimate, an estimate of the likely size of the error 
due to sampling ("random sampling error") and to use the estimate of that error 
to create an interval estimate of the population parameter in which one is inter- 
ested. An interval is constructed around the sample statistic, and that interval 
becomes the estimate. Different error estimates are calculated depending on 
how certain one wants to be that the interval estimate that one creates will actu- 
ally include the population parameter that is being estimated. Although 
different confidence levels are used in different circumstances, a typical level of 
confidence is 95%. Adopting a 95% confidence level basically means that we 
have agreed to create interval estimates that will actually include the true pop- 
ulation parameter that is being estimated 95% of the time. 



Confidence Intervals I 43 



In estimating various participation rates, we are basically estimating popula- 
tion proportions: the percentage of a specified population that has a particular 
attribute. The width of each interval estimate of a population proportion 
depends on four factors: 

1. The design of the sample on which the estimate is based (in this case, a 
complex sampling design leads to higher error estimates than a simple ran- 
dom sample would have). 

2. The size of the sample on which the estimate is based (holding other fac- 
tors constant, the larger the sample, the more precise the estimate will be; 
thus, larger samples result in narrower interval estimates). 5 

3. How far away from 50 percent the estimated proportion is (Statistically 
speaking, one can do a more precise job estimating proportions that are 
relatively small [ closer to percent] or relatively large [closer to 100 per- 
cent] than in estimating proportions that are closer to 50 percent; thus, the 
further away from 50 percent the true proportion is, the more precise the 
estimate and the narrower the interval will be.). 

4. The confidence level that one has chosen to adopt (in this case, 95 percent). 

The calculation of the expected random sampling error and the use of the 
random sampling error in the calculation of the boundaries of each interval esti- 
mate take all of these factors into account. Accordingly, to interpret fully the 
results reported in Section 1, one must calculate and report the appropriate 
sampling errors and confidence intervals. 

Interval Estimates of Participation Rates 

In this section, these statistical ideas are applied to the estimation of the par- 
ticipation rates that have already been reported in Tables 1.1 and 1.6. The 
results of these calculations are presented in graphical form rather than tabular 
form because their importance is easier to grasp when seen in this way. Prior to 
turning to these presentations, however, it may be useful to report one such 
result to demonstrate how to interpret it. 

Look at the very first participation rate reported in Table 1.1, the participa- 
tion rate for jazz in the state of California. The point estimate based on the 
sample results is that 13.73 percent (rounded in Table 1.1 to 13.7 percent) of 
the adult population of the state of California attended a performance of live 
jazz in the preceding year. But that estimate is the result of a sample. The 
expected size of the sampling error, given the size of the sample, the level of the 



44 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



estimate, and the desire for 95% confidence, is ± 1.56 percentage points 6 . Thus, 
the interval estimate for the participation rate in jazz among the adult popula- 
tion in California is from 12.2 percent to 15.3 percent. This interval, which is 
the result of a statistical process that will include the actual population partici- 
pation rate 95% of the time, is the best estimate that we have that takes into 
account the expected size of the sampling error in this case. 

Extending these calculations to all of the participation rates reported in 
Tables 1.1 and 1.6 and presenting these results in graphic form leads to Figures 
2.1 through 2.11. Each of these figures presents the 95% confidence interval 
estimates for participation in one of the art forms in all of the ten states. Note 
that the narrowest confidence intervals are those for the state with the largest 
sample size — California. Conversely, the widest intervals are those for the states 
with the smallest sample sizes — Massachusetts, Ohio, and New Jersey. 

Taken together these figures bring considerable caution to bear on the inter- 
pretation of which states have higher participation rates than others. 
Individually, they lead to the following observations: 

Figure 2.1: Because of the width of the confidence intervals, it is very 

hard to conclude that any one state's participation rate in 
jazz is actually higher than another's. (All of the confi- 
dence intervals overlap with one another.) It appears that 
the participation rates in Florida, Michigan, and 
California are above the overall participation rate for the 
United States, but an equivalent confidence interval 
would also have to be constructed around the point esti- 
mate of the overall participation rate as well (omitted 
here to simplify the figure). 
Figure 2.2: The participation rate in classical music in Massachusetts 

is clearly above the national average. 
Figure 2.3: It is difficult to conclude that there is much variation 

across these states with respect to participation rates in 
opera, though New York and California likely have rates 
above the national average, while Texas has a rate that is 
below the national average. 
Figure 2.4: Real differences in participation rates for ballet are diffi- 

cult to detect given the overlap of the confidence 
intervals. The participation rates in Massachusetts and 
New York are likely to be above the national average. 



Confidence Intervals I 45 



Figure 2.5: The highest participation rates in other dance are likely 

to be higher than the lowest participation rates, i.e. the 
participation rate in Illinois is likely to be higher than the 
participation rate in Pennsylvania. The rates in Illinois 
and California are likely to be higher than the national 
average. 

Figure 2.6: With respect to participation rates for musical plays, the 

confidence interval analysis suggests more distinct differ- 
ences than in the other cases. The participation rates in 
New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Michigan 
are all likely to be greater than the national average, and 
they are certainly higher than the participation rates in 
Texas and possibly in Florida. 

Figure 2.7: Participation in non-musical plays is likely to be higher 

than the national average in New Jersey and 
Massachusetts, and their participation rates are also 
higher than the participation rates in Ohio and 
Pennsylvania. 

Figure 2.8: Not only is the Massachusetts participation rate for art 

museums and galleries likely to be higher than the 
national average, it is also likely to be higher than the 
participation rate in seven other states (Ohio through 
California). The participation rates in California and 
New York are also likely to be higher than the national 
average. 

Figure 2.9: Participation in reading literature is likely to be higher 

than the national average in Massachusetts, New Jersey, 
and California. 

Figure 2.10: Participation via visiting historic parks or monuments is 

higher than average in Massachusetts and higher than in 
seven of the other states (Michigan through 
Pennsylvania). 

Figure 2.11: Finally, participation in arts or crafts fairs or festivals is 

likely to be higher than the national average in Michigan 
and Ohio, and it is higher in these states than in five of 
the other states (New Jersey through California). 



46 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



The essential message here is that all of the estimates of participation rates in 
this monograph (as well as in other monographs based on the Survey of Public 
Participation in the Arts) are subject to random sampling error. Because of that 
error, many of the observed differences in participation rates may be attributa- 
ble, at least in part, to random sampling error rather than to any real differences 
in participation rates. Only very large observed differences are likely to be 
immune from this complication. 

The rest of the current monograph will not be cluttered with estimates of the 
random sampling error associated with each of the many estimates of partici- 
pation rates that will be reported here, though it would be possible to make 
these calculations. Rather, it is an important caveat that must be considered in 
interpreting these results. Of course, one could take the stance that the point 
estimates reported in this monograph are the best single estimates one can 
extract from the sample data, 7 but once one begins searching for explanations 
of differences in participation rates in order to recommend programmatic ini- 
tiatives to minimize those differences, one needs to be conscious of the fact that 
one may be trying to eliminate a difference that may, in fact, not exist in the 
population that is being sampled. 



Confidence Intervals 



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58 



3. Participation by Region 



While the sample sizes in the SPPA are only sufficient to separately identify 
ten states, they are sufficient to justify a complete look at the various regions of 
the country. Because it allows complete coverage, albeit at a higher level of geo- 
graphic aggregation, such an analysis serves as a useful counterpoint to the 
analysis of participation rates by state. 8 

Table 3.1 summarizes participation rates in the eight key art forms by region 
and by art form. 9 Generally, the highest participation rates can be found in New 
England, the Middle Atlantic region, and the Pacific region. New England has 
the highest participation rate for five of these eight art forms and the second 
highest participation rate for two others. (With respect to opera, however, New 
England is fifth, the median of the nine regions.) At the other end of the scale, 
the East South Central region has the lowest participation rates for six of the 
eight art forms. For ballet and plays other than musicals this region has the sec- 
ond lowest participation rate. Section 7 explores this pattern further by testing 
to what extent it might be explained by various demographic or organizational 
variables. 

Expanding the art forms under consideration to include reading literature, 
visiting historic parks or monuments, and attending art or crafts fairs or festi- 
vals leads to Table 3.2. New England has the highest participation rates in both 
reading literature and visiting historic parks; it is second with respect to attend- 
ing arts or crafts fairs or festivals. The Pacific region is second in participation 
in reading literature; the West North Central region second in visiting historic 
parks or monuments; and the East North Central region second in attending 
arts or crafts fairs or festivals. The latter two art forms, once again, have a 
noticeably different geographic pattern from the other art forms. Yet, the East 
South Central region still evidences the lowest participation rates, lower than 
the other regions and the national average by a considerable margin. 



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60 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Table 3.2: 
Participation Rates in Other Cultural Activities by Region, 1997 



State 


Reading 


Historic Parks 


Art or Crafts 




Literature 


or Monuments 


Fairs or Festivals 


New England 


69.7% 


53.0% 


52.3% 


Middle Atlantic 


63.3% 


48.3% 


46.8% 


South Atlantic 


61.0% 


49.0% 


43.1% 


East North Central 


61.0% 


45.0% 


53.7% 


West North Central 


62.8% 


50.6% 


51.9% 


East South Central 


59.2% 


41.3% 


39.1% 


West South Central 


61.3% 


43.7% 


46.5% 


Mountain 


66.6% 


48.2% 


47.1% 


Pacific 


66.9% 


45.1% 


47.6% 


United States 


63.1% 


46.9% 


47.5% 



Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



61 



4. Other Forms of Participation 



The 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts went beyond the eleven 
basic art forms already discussed. This section turns to the evidence on varia- 
tion in several other forms of participation. 

Participation via the Media 

Increasingly, the media have become important mediating vehicles for par- 
ticipation in the arts and culture. Recognition of the role that the media might 
play in participation suggests a number of interesting research questions: Does 
participation via the media replace live participation? Does participation via the 
media supplement live participation? Does participation via the media encour- 
age increased live participation? 10 

In the 1997 SPPA, a battery of questions was asked to determine the extent 
to which respondents made use of various media in the course of their partici- 
pation in the arts and culture. Note that the questions concerning participation 
via the media were asked of only a subsample that included slightly less than 
half of the SPPA respondents, thereby reducing the effective sample size on 
which these results are based for each state. One of the implications of this, of 
course, is that it increases the size of the sampling errors involved in estimating 
the participation rates reported in this section. 

In Table 4.1 are the results that derive from creating several aggregated vari- 
ables to measure the level of participation in the arts via various media. This 
table first considers participation via television or videotape. Nearly 70 percent 
of the American adult population reports having participated in one or another 
of the key art forms through the medium of television or video in the previous 
twelve months. For the ten states that the SPPA allows us to consider separately, 
this rate climbs as high as 76.9 percent in California and falls as low as 63.1 
percent in Pennsylvania. 

Participation via radio is at a somewhat lower level; 57.9 percent of 
American adults report having participated in the key art forms via radio in the 
previous twelve months. Massachusetts and California show the highest levels 
of participation via radio — 65.3 percent and 65.1 percent, respectively. Ohio 
(52.0 percent) and Pennsylvania (52.6 percent) report the lowest levels. 

Finally, participation via records, compact discs, or tape cassettes, is lower 
still: 48.0 percent of the adult population reports participation via one of these 
media, but this time, New Jersey (58.3 percent) has the highest participation 



62 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



rate, followed by California (55.9 percent). Of these ten states, Ohio (46.0 per- 
cent) has the lowest participation rate, but this rate is only two percentage 
points lower than the national average. 

As has been done earlier in this monograph, Tables 4.2a and 4.2b compare 
the participation rates for each state with the overall rates of participation for 
the United States using, respectively, absolute differences and percentage differ- 
ences. Participation via television or video is clearly higher in California than in 
the other states. Conversely, it is quite a bit lower in Pennsylvania and Ohio. 
Participation via radio is clearly higher in Massachusetts, California, and 
Illinois; but substantially lower in Ohio and Pennsylvania. And participation via 
records, compact disks, or tape cassettes is substantially higher in New Jersey, 
and quite a bit higher in California, Massachusetts, and Illinois, while all other 
states taken together have an aggregate participation rate that is 12.1 percent 
(5.8 percentage points) lower than the overall national participation rate. 



Other Forms of Participation 63 



Table 4.1: 
Rates of Participation in the Arts via the Media by State, 1997 

State TV/Video Radio Records/CDs/ 

Cassettes 

California 

Florida 

Illinois 

Massachusetts 

Michigan 

New Jersey 

New York 

Ohio 

Pennsylvania 

Texas 

All Other States 

United States 

Notes: TV/Video includes all respondents who in the previous twelve months watched a jazz per- 
formance; classical music performance; an opera; a musical stage play or operetta; a non-musical 
stage play; a dance performance; or a program about artists, art works, or art museums on televi- 
sion or on a videotape. 

Radio includes all respondents who in the previous twelve months listened to jazz; classical 
music; opera music; a musical stage play or operetta; or a performance of a non-musical stage 
play on the radio. 

Records/CDs/Cassettes includes all respondents who in the previous twelve months listened to 
records, tapes, or compact discs of jazz, classical music, opera music, or a musical stage play or 
operetta. 

Questions concerning participation in the arts via the media were asked of a subsample of the 
total sample. 

Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



76.9% 


65.1% 


55.9% 


73.7% 


61.8% 


50.9% 


73.5% 


63.7% 


52.9% 


70.9% 


65.3% 


55.7% 


70.0% 


58.5% 


50.2% 


74.4% 


62.5% 


58.3% 


68.9% 


62.4% 


52.6% 


65.0% 


52.0% 


46.0% 


63.1% 


52.6% 


46.7% 


73.8% 


58.8% 


50.4% 


66.6% 


53.5% 


42.2% 


69.9% 


57.9% 


48.0% 



+7.0 


+7.2 


+7.9 


+3.8 


+3.9 


+2.9 


+3.6 


+5.8 


+4.9 


+ 1.0 


+7.4 


+7.7 


+0.1 


+0.6 


+2.2 


+4.5 


+4.6 


+10.3 


-1.0 


+4.5 


+4.6 


-4.9 


-5.9 


-2.0 


-6.8 


-5.3 


-1.3 


+3.9 


+0.9 


+2.4 



64 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Table 4.2a: 

Comparison of Participation Rates for Each State with 

Overall Rates of Participation via the Media, 1997 

(percentage point differences) 

State TV/Video Radio Records/CDs/ 

Cassettes 

California 

Florida 

Illinois 

Massachusetts 

Michigan 

New Jersey 

New York 

Ohio 

Pennsylvania 

Texas 

All Other States -3.3 -4.4 -5.8 

Notes: TV/Video includes all respondents who in the previous twelve months watched a jazz per- 
formance; classical music performance; an opera; a musical stage play or operetta; a non-musical 
stage play; a dance performance; or a-program about artists, art works, or art museums on televi- 
sion or a videotape. 

Radio includes all respondents who in the previous twelve months listened to jazz; classical music; 
opera music; a musical stage play or operetta; or a performance of a non-musical stage play on the 
radio. 

Records/CDs/Cassettes includes all respondents who in the previous twelve months listened to 
records, tapes, or compact discs of jazz, classical music, opera music, or a musical stage play or 
operetta. 

Questions concerning participation in the arts via the media were asked of a subsample of the total 
sample. 

Each entry in this table is the number of percentage points each state's participation rate is higher 
or lower than the corresponding overall participation rate for the United States. For example, the 
California participation rate via TV and Video is 7.0 percentage points higher than the participation 
rate via TV and Video for the United States as a whole. 

Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



+ 10.0% 


+ 12.4% 


+ 16.5% 


+5.4% 


+6.7% 


+6.0% 


+5.2% 


+ 10.0% 


+ 10.2% 


+ 1.4% 


+ 12.8% 


+ 16.0% 


+0.1% 


+ 1.0% 


+4.6% 


+6.4% 


+7.9% 


+21.5% 


-1.4% 


+7.8% 


+9.6% 


-7.0% 


-10.2% 


-4.2% 


-9.7% 


-9.2% 


-2.7% 


+5.6% 


+ 1.6% 


+5.0% 



Other Forms of Participation 65 



Table 4.2b: 
Comparison of Participation Rates for Each State with 

Overall Rates of Participation via the Media, 1997 
(difference as a percentage of overall participation rate) 

State TV/Video Radio Records/CDs/ 

Cassettes 

California 

Florida 

Illinois 

Massachusetts 

Michigan 

New Jersey 

New York 

Ohio 

Pennsylvania 

Texas 

All Other States -4.7% -7.6% -12.1% 

Notes: TV/Video includes all respondents who in the previous twelve months watched a jazz per- 
formance; classical music performance; an opera; a musical stage play or operetta; a non-musical 
stage play; a dance performance; or a program about artists, art works, or art museums on televi- 
sion or a videotape. 

Radio includes all respondents who in the previous twelve months listened to jazz; classical music; 
opera music; a musical stage play or operetta; or a performance of a non-musical stage play on the 
radio. 

Records/CDs/Cassettes includes all respondents who in the previous twelve months listened to 
records, tapes, or compact discs of jazz, classical music, opera music, or a musical stage play or 
operetta. 

Questions concerning participation in the arts via the media were asked of a subsample of the total 
sample. 

Each entry in this table is the percentage that each state's participation rate is higher or lower than 
the corresponding overall participation rate for the United States. For example, the California par- 
ticipation rate via TV and Video is 10.0 percent higher than the participation rate via TV and Video 
for the United States as a whole. 

Source: 1 997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



66 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Direct Participation via Creation or Performance 

Another set of questions included in the 1997 Survey of Public Participation 
in the Arts allows a look at forms of direct personal participation in the arts and 
culturel through creation or performance. Note that, similar to the questions on 
participation via the media, questions concerning personal arts participation 
were asked of a subsample that included approximately 36 percent of the SPPA 
respondents, thereby reducing even further the effective sample size on which 
these results are based for each state. One of the implications of this would be 
to increase even more the size of the sampling error involved in estimating par- 
ticipation rates reported in this section. 

Rather than focus on individual forms of creation or performance, I have cre- 
ated two aggregate variables to measure whether or not each respondent was 
involved in any creative activity or in any performance activity in the previous 
twelve months. "Creation" combines six separate questions concerning the 
respondent's active participation in crafts, sewing, photography, drawing, writ- 
ing, or composing. Respondents are considered to have participated in creation 
if they report having participated in at least one of these activities in the previ- 
ous twelve months. "Performing" combines nine separate questions concerning 
the respondent's active participation in playing a musical instrument, perform- 
ing jazz, performing classical music, singing music from an opera, singing music 
from a musical play or operetta, performing with a chorus or other singing 
group, performing in a non-musical play, dancing in a ballet, or dancing in any 
other type of dance performance. Respondents are considered to have per- 
formed if they report having participated in at least one of these activities in the 
previous twelve months. 

The basic findings of this analysis of direct personal arts participation are 
reported in Table 4.3. Five out of nine American adults, 55.3 percent, report 
having been involved in one or another form of direct artistic creation in the 
previous twelve months. This rather high level of participation is not too sur- 
prising given the looseness with which creation is defined. For example, any 
form of writing, drawing, or photography would qualify one to be included. 
Higher than average levels of participation in creation are reported for 
Massachusetts (60.6 percent) and New Jersey (60.4 percent); a level that is 
clearly lower than average is reported in Pennsylvania (51.0 percent). 

Turning now to personal participation via performance, approximately four 
out of every ten American adults, 40.8 percent, report participation in one or 
another art form by performing. Of the ten states under consideration here, 
Florida has the highest rate of participation in performance (47.6 percent) fol- 



Other Forms of Participation 67 



lowed by Massachusetts (45.5 percent). At the other end of the spectrum, Ohio 
reports the lowest rate of participation (37.3 percent) and California the second 
lowest (37.6 percent). 

With respect to both creation and performance, the variations in participa- 
tion rates that are observed here (Tables 4.4a and 4.4b) appear to be somewhat 
less than what we have observed for other forms of participation. The rate of 
participation in performing in Florida is 16.7 percent higher than the average 
for the United States as a whole, while rates of participation in Massachusetts 
are identifiably higher for both creation — 9.6 percent higher than the national 
participation rate — and performing — 11.5 percent higher than the national par- 
ticipation rate. 

In summary, the picture that emerges with respect to direct personal partici- 
pation is a picture of less geographic variation across these states. 
Massachusetts still exhibits high participation rates, but it is joined by New 
Jersey for creation and Florida for performing. 



68 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Table 4.3: 

Personal Arts Participation through Creation and 

Performance by State, 1997 



State 



Creation 



Performance 



California 

Florida 

Illinois 

Massachusetts 

Michigan 

New Jersey 

New York 

Ohio 

Pennsylvania 

Texas 

Other 

United States 



54.5% 
55.7% 
54.7% 
60.6% 
54.7% 
60.4% 
52.9% 
57.9% 
51.0% 
54.2% 

55.6% 

55.3% 



37.6% 
47.6% 
40.9% 
45.5% 
39.3% 
41.9% 
38.4% 
37.3% 
41.3% 
40.7% 

40.9% 

40.8% 



Notes: "Creation" combines six separate questions concerning the respondent's active participa- 
tion in various art forms through creative activity — crafts, sewing, photography, drawing, writing, or 
composing. 

"Performance" combines nine separate questions concerning the respondent's active participation 
in various art forms through performance — playing a musical instrument, performing jazz, perform- 
ing classical music, singing music from an opera, singing music from a musical play or operetta, 
performing with a chorus or other singing group, performing in a non-musical play, dancing in a bal- 
let, or dancing in any other type of dance performance. 

Questions concerning personal arts participation were asked of a subsample of the total sample. 

Source: 1 997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



Other Forms of Participation 



69 



Table 4.4a: 

Comparison of Personal Arts Participation Rates for Each State 

with Overall Participation Rates, 1997 

(percentage point differences) 



State 



Creation 



Performance 



California 

Florida 

Illinois 

Massachusetts 

Michigan 

New Jersey 

New York 

Ohio 

Pennsylvania 

Texas 

Other 



-0.8 
+0.4 

-0.6 
+5.3 

-0.6 
+5.1 

-2.4 
+2.6 

-4.3 

-1.1 

+0.3 



-3.2 
+6.8 
+0.1 
+4.7 

-1.5 
+ 1.1 

-2.4 

-3.5 
+0.5 

-0.1 

+0.1 



Notes: "Creation" combines six separate questions concerning the respondent's active participa- 
tion in various art forms through creative activity — crafts, sewing, photography, drawing, writing, or 
composing. 

"Performance" combines nine separate questions concerning the respondent's active participation 
in various art forms through performance — playing a musical instrument, performing jazz, perform- 
ing classical music, singing music from an opera, singing music from a musical play or operetta, 
performing with a chorus or other singing group, performing in a non-musical play, dancing in a bal- 
let, or dancing in any other type of dance performance. 

Questions concerning personal arts participation were asked of a subsample of the total sample. 

Each entry in this table is the number of percentage points each state's participation rate is higher 
or lower than the corresponding overall participation rate for the United States. For example, the 
California rate of participation in creation is 0.8 percentage points lower than the rate of participa- 
tion in creation for the United States as a whole. 



Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



70 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Table 4.4b: 
Comparison of Personal Arts Participation Rates for Each State with 

Overall Participation Rates, 1997 
(difference as a percentage of overall participation rate) 

State Creation Performance 

California -1.4% -7.8% 

Florida +0.7% +16.7% 

Illinois . -1.1% +0.2% 

Massachusetts +9.6% +11.5% 

Michigan -1.1% -3.7% 

New Jersey +9.2% +2.7% 

New York -4.3% -5.9% 

Ohio +4.7% -8.6% 

Pennsylvania -7.8% +1.2% 

Texas -2.0% -0.2% 

Other +0.5% +0.2% 

Notes: "Creation" combines six separate questions concerning the respondent's active participa- 
tion in various art forms through creative activity — crafts, sewing, photography, drawing, writing, or 
composing. 

"Performance" combines nine separate questions concerning the respondent's active participation 

in various art forms through performance — playing a musical instrument, performing jazz, perform- 
ing classical music, singing music from an opera, singing music from a musical play or operetta, 
performing with a chorus or other singing group, performing in a non-musical play, dancing in a bal- 
let, or dancing in any other type of dance performance. 

Questions concerning personal arts participation were asked of a subsample of the total sample. 

Each entry in this table is the percentage that each state's participation rate is higher or lower than 
the corresponding overall participation rate for the United States. For example, the California rate 
of participation in creation is 1 .4 percent lower than the rate of participation in creation for the 
United States as a whole. 

Source: 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 



71 



5. The Relationship Between Participation 
Rates— Regions 



Earlier sections of this monograph have asked whether certain results might 
indicate substitution among art forms. At other points there is speculation 
about the similarities in levels of participation from one art form to another. 
What is the relationship between participation rates for the various art forms? 
As participation in one art form rises does participation in other art forms also 
rise, or does it fall? Do the various art forms serve as substitutes for one another 
or does participation in one reinforce participation in another? These questions 
can be addressed from a geographic point of view by looking at the relationship 
between pairs of participation rates across geographic areas. 

The basic mathematical tool that I will use to explore these relationships is 
the correlation coefficient. The correlation coefficient is a measure of the degree 
to which two variables have a linear relationship with one another. The corre- 
lation coefficient is a number that has a value between 0.0, which indicates no 
linear relationship, and 1.0, which indicates a perfect linear relationship. The 
closer the value of the correlation coefficient is to 1.0, the stronger the linear 
relationship; the closer it is to zero, the weaker the linear relationship. Also of 
importance in interpreting any correlation coefficient is its sign: a positive sign 
indicates that the two variables under consideration tend to have a direct linear 
relationship — as the value of one variable increases so does the value of the 
other; a negative sign indicates that the two variables under consideration tend 
to have an inverse linear relationship — as the value of one variable increases, the 
value of the other variable tends to decrease. In the current context, a positive 
correlation coefficient indicates that higher participation rates for one art form 
tend to be matched by higher participation rates for the other art form; a neg- 
ative correlation coefficient, on the other hand, would suggest substitution — a 
higher participation rate for one art form would tend to be matched with a 
lower participation rate for the other art form. 

In this section of the monograph, correlation coefficients are used as a way 
of looking at the relationships between pairs of participation rates across all 
nine regions of the United States; in the next section relationships across the 
restricted set of ten states are considered. Neither of these analyses is a substi- 
tute for considering the relationship between participation in one art form and 
participation in another art form at the level of individual respondents, a topic 
that is being explored in other monographs. 



72 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Correlating Participation in the Eight Key Art Forms Across 
Regions 

Table 5.1 is the correlation matrix that results from calculating the correla- 
tion coefficient for participation rates in each pair of art forms across all nine 
regions. 11 At this high level of aggregation the relationships between each pair 
of participation rates are all positive and nearly all of them are quite strong. The 
higher the regional participation rate in one of the eight key art forms, the 
higher the regional participation rate in another of these art forms. The two 
exceptions are the correlation between participation rates in non-musical plays 
and in opera, which, though also positive, is a modest +0.28, and the correla- 
tion between non-musical plays and in dance other than ballet, which is +0.29. 



The Relationship Between Participation Rates — Regions 



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74 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



It is important to be quite precise about what these correlation coefficients 
are measuring and what they are not measuring. They should not be interpreted 
at an individual level; these correlation coefficients by themselves do not indi- 
cate that an individual who participates in one art form is more likely to 
participate in another art form than someone who does not participate in the 
first art form. They do, however, indicate that in any given region a relatively 
high participation rate in one art form is likely to be accompanied by a rela- 
tively high participation rate in another and that a relatively low participation 
rate in one art form is likely to be accompanied by a relatively low participa- 
tion rate in another. 

Correlating Participation for the Three Other Cultural 
Activities Across Regions 

When this regional correlation analysis is expanded to the three other forms 
of cultural participation that have been considered above — reading literature, 
visiting historic parks or monuments, and attending arts or crafts fairs or festi- 
vals — a similar set of patterns emerges (Table 5.2). Once again, all of the 
correlation coefficients are positive, indicating that at the regional level these 
participation rates tend to parallel one another. For some art forms, the corre- 
lation with attendance at historic parks or monuments and the correlation with 
attendance at arts or crafts fairs or festivals are both lower than the other cor- 
relation coefficients. This indicates, perhaps, that the audiences for these art 
forms are rather different from the audiences for other art forms. (This pattern 
is revealed more clearly when the analysis turns to the state level in the next sec- 
tion of this monograph.) Participation in live ballet is the most striking example, 
with a correlation of +0.22 with attendance at historic parks or monuments and 
a correlation of +0.21 with attendance at fairs or festivals. 

& P P 
In the context of the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, an analysis of 
participation rates by region is sensible because it allows for a consideration 
that encompasses the entire United States. Yet, as the level of aggregation 
increases, it is quite likely that any interesting geographic variations in partici- 
pation rates will get washed out of the analysis. The larger the geographic areas 
under consideration, the less opportunity there is to detect interesting local 
variations. In other words, at high levels of aggregation one would expect to 
observe well-behaved correlation coefficients such as those calculated in Table 
5.1 or Table 5.2. The fact that the participation rates in various pairs of artistic 
activities parallel one another at the regional level corresponds to one's innate 



The Relationship Between Participation Rates — Regions I 75 



sense of what the relationship is likely to be, but an analysis at the regional level 
may not be the best test of that relationship. For this reason, despite the fact 
that the SPPA data only allow for the separate identification of participation 
rates for ten states, it makes sense to see what patterns are revealed when the 
same analysis is conducted at the state level. This analysis is presented in the 
next section. 



76 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



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77 



6. The Relationship Between Participation 
Rates — States 



In this section of the monograph, the analyses of Section 5 are repeated, but 
this time using data based on the ten available states. Caution is advised as these 
ten states might well show a high correlation between the participation rates for 
any two art forms while all fifty states might show a very low correlation (or 
even a negative correlation). Similarly, it is possible that these ten states might show 
a very low correlation, while all fifty states might actually have a high correlation. 
Because we cannot draw a complete scattergram for all fifty states, we cannot iden- 
tify which portion of that scattergram we are looking at when we consider these 
ten states. Thus, it is important to be aware that the conclusions that are drawn 
through this analysis presented in this part of the monograph are for these states 
alone and are not necessarily able to be generalized to all fifty states. 

Correlating Participation in the Eight Key Art Forms Across 
the Ten States 

Table 6.1 is the correlation matrix that results from calculating the correla- 
tion coefficient for each pair of art forms across these ten states. 12 A number of 
interesting observations can be made about the results. First, for the key eight 
art forms, twenty-seven of the twenty-eight separate correlation coefficients 
reported here are positive. 13 Generally speaking, this means that higher partici- 
pation rates in one art form are associated with higher participation rates in 
each of the other art forms. The sole exception, a -0.03 correlation between the 
participation rate for ballet and the participation rate for opera, is a surprising 
one. One would have expected, I think, a positive correlation coefficient 
between these two art forms (which, in any event, might have been observed if 
one had been able to observe this relationship across all fifty states). 

Attendance at art museums and galleries appears to be something of a bell- 
wether. It is positively correlated with participation rates for all of the other art 
forms — very highly so in the cases of classical music, other dance, musical 
plays, and non-musical plays — and is more highly correlated with the other art 
forms than is participation in most of the other art forms. What this means is 
that if a state has a relatively high participation rate in art museums and gal- 
leries, then it is a good bet that it has a relatively high participation rate in any 
of the other key art forms as well. 



78 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Logical pairs command our attention. A higher participation rate in jazz 
strongly signals a higher participation rate in both classical music and a bit less 
so in opera. Interestingly, participation in ballet is not correlated with partici- 
pation in other dance — a correlation coefficient of +0.08. They do not 
substitute for one another, but a high rate of participation in one does not guar- 
antee a high rate of participation in the other either. Participation in musical 
plays is highly correlated with participation in non-musical plays, indicating 
that these participation rates move together. 

Thus, at least as far as these eight art forms are concerned in these ten states, 
there is quite a bit of complementarity in evidence and virtually no substitution. 
This, of course, is a statistician's way of saying something that we have already 
observed earlier in a somewhat less formal way: that certain states tend to sys- 
tematically rise to the top of the participation rate tables and that others tend 
to systematically fall to the bottom. 



The Relationship Between Participation Rates — States 



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80 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Comparing Table 5.1 to Table 6.1 leads to an additional set of observations. 
The correlation coefficients are generally higher when measured across regions 
(Table 5.1) than when they are measured across states (Table 6.1). Part of the 
reason for this may be mathematical — the regional analysis is based on nine 
data points (nine regions) while the state analysis is based on ten data points 
(ten states); the more data points the more difficult it is to achieve a high cor- 
relation coefficient — and part of the reason may be statistical — the ten states 
constitute a non-random sample of states rather than a census of the fifty 
states — but a more important reason is likely to be the fact that higher levels of 
aggregation are likely to wash away the interesting variations in the phenome- 
non that is being observed. In other words, behavior at higher levels of 
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ior at lower levels of aggregation. 

Correlating Participation in the Three Other Cultural 
Activities across the Ten States 

In Table 6.2, the three other forms of cultural participation that have been 
considered above — reading literature, visiting historic parks or monuments, and 
attending arts or crafts fairs or festivals — are added to this analysis. Here, for 
the first time, we observe strong negative correlation coefficients. Participation 
via attending an arts or crafts fair or festival is negatively correlated with par- 
ticipation in all of the other art forms except jazz, for which the correlation 
coefficient is essentially zero. In a couple of cases — non-musical plays and art 
museums and galleries — these correlation coefficients are strongly negative. 
These results suggest substitution between attending fairs and festivals and 
attending many of the other art forms. Interestingly, this result does not hold for 
visiting historic parks or monuments, another activity which one might have 
expected to be negatively correlated with participation in the eight more tradi- 
tional and more highly institutionalized art forms. Instead, visiting historic 
parks or monuments is positively correlated with participation in all of the other 
art forms except opera and fairs and festivals. Attendance at art museums or gal- 
leries is again a bellwether, being highly correlated with all three of these additional 
forms of participation, albeit negatively with attendance at fairs and festivals. 

Comparing Tables 5.2 and 6.2 leads, once again, to the observation that the 
correlation coefficients are generally lower in the state analysis than they are in 
the regional analysis. This undoubtedly occurs partially for the same reasons as 
have been outlined above, but the fact that one observes negative correlation coef- 
ficients for attendance at historic parks or monuments and for fairs and festivals, 



The Relationship Between Participation Rates — States i 81 



some of them quite strong, and the fact that one observes very weak correlation 
coefficients in Table 6.2 but not in Table 5.2 suggest the possibility of substitution 
in participation between these two cultural activities and the others. 

Tables 5.1, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2 offer only simple descriptions of the relationships 
between the various participation rates. The next three sections of this mono- 
graph consider a number of ways to begin to develop a more explanatory sense 
of the variation in participation rates across regions and across states. 



82 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



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7. Explaining Variation in Participation 
Rates Across Regions 



Why do participation rates vary geographically? In the presence of sample 
data there is always the possible explanation that the participation rates that I 
have estimated, whether for regions or for states, vary due to sampling error. 
This explanation has already been explored to some extent in Section 2. But 
surely there are other, more substantive explanations that are worth exploring. 
In this part of the monograph two such sets of explanations are explored: (1) 
explanations that are linked to the population demographics of the geographic 
area under consideration and (2) explanations that are linked to the geographic 
distribution of arts and cultural organizations. 14 The focus of this section is on 
explaining variation in participation across the nine regions, and in the next sec- 
tion variation across the ten states. 

What would be ideal would be to conduct a multivariate analysis that would 
allow one to test the simultaneous influence of a set of possible explanatory 
variables on geographic variations in participation rates. With only nine regions 
or ten states, unfortunately, is not possible to proceed very far with a multi- 
variate analysis because the number of observations is so low. 15 Instead, the 
influence of one possible explanatory variable at a time is examined. 
Accordingly, correlation coefficients will be used as a way of measuring the 
nature of the relationship between each pair of variables. 

Throughout this section and the next section of this monograph it is impor- 
tant to keep in mind that this is a construction of a geographical story of arts 
participation and that this is very different from trying to construct a story of 
arts participation by individuals. Demographic variables that may be critical 
predictors of individual participation in the arts and culture may wash out of a 
regional or a state-based account of participation. Other monographs in this 
series will focus on trying to explain variations in individual participation, and 
their accounts may turn out to be rather different than what one sees when one 
chooses to view participation through an aggregated geographic lens. 

Demographic Explanations 

Undoubtedly, there are many things about the demographics of a place that 
influence the participation rates of the residents of that place. In this section, 
four different sets of demographic variables are considered: ones that measure 
educational level, ones that measure income, ones that measure the geographic 



84 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



distribution of the residents, and a single one that measures the level of minor- 
ity residents. Out of curiosity, a variable that measures the aggregate level of 
state arts funding per capita in the region is added to this section to test whether 
it has any relationship to participation levels. The correlation coefficients that 
result when participation rates for each art form are correlated with each of 
these explanatory variables over all nine regions are reported in Table 7.1. 



16 



Explaining Variation in Participation Rates Across Regions 



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86 ! The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Educational Level 

Educational level has consistently been shown to be the most important pre- 
dictor of an individual's participation in arts and cultural activities. 17 Here I 
explore to what extent that finding also holds up at the regional level of aggre- 
gation. 

Table 7.1 uses two alternative ways of measuring the educational level of a 
region: (1) the percentage of the adult population age 25 or older that has grad- 
uated from high school and (2) the percentage of the adult population age 25 
or older that has earned a bachelor's degree. Percentage of high school gradu- 
ates is positively correlated with participation in each of the art forms. It is a 
particularly good predictor of participation in opera (r = +0.70). Percentage 
with a bachelor's degree is a much better predictor; some of the correlation coef- 
ficients, most notably for jazz (r = +0.98) and for classical music (r = +0.94), are 
very high. Interestingly, the correlation coefficients for the more popular art 
forms, historic parks and fairs or festivals, are not lower than the correlation 
coefficients for other forms, indicating that at least at the regional level partic- 
ipation in these art forms parallels educational level. 

Income Level 

Income has also been shown to be an important predictor of participation in 
the arts and culture, though it is typically highly correlated with educational 
level (which is the better predictor). 18 Here two different measures of the income 
level of a region are used: median household income and the percentage of indi- 
viduals living below the poverty line. 

At a regional level, median household income is positively correlated with 
participation in all of the art forms. For some art forms, most notably jazz (r = 
+0.86) and classical music (r = + 0.82), the correlation is very high. On the 
whole, however, median household income is not as good a predictor as percent 
of the residents with a bachelors' degree. 

Generally, one would expect negative correlations between participation 
rates in the various art forms and percentage below the poverty level, and, 
indeed, ten of the eleven correlation coefficients are negative at the regional 
level. The fact that percentage below the poverty level is moderately positively 
correlated with participation rates for ballet suggests that there may be some- 
thing particular about this audience worth identifying: Is it, perhaps, more 
highly composed of minorities? Does ballet particularly draw on students and 
others whose incomes may be temporarily low? Or do respondents conflate 
actual participation in dancing with attendance at dance performances when 



88 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



nities, and that, in turn, may affect participation rates. I have used three differ- 
ent measures of geographic distribution to attempt to capture some of the 
salient attributes of relative location. 

The simplest measure of all is to divide the population of the region by the 
region's land area to get a measure of population density. This measure is posi- 
tively correlated with participation in all of the arts forms except for other 
dance and reading literature, but the correlation coefficients in those two cases 
are so small that they are virtually zero. Even though the signs are more or less 
what one would expect, persons per square mile is not a particularly good pre- 
dictor of participation in any of the art forms. The highest correlation is with 
participation in musical plays (r = +0.58). 

Another way to approach the measurement of the geographic distribution of 
the population is to ask what percentage of the population lives in urban as 
opposed to non-urban areas. The Bureau of the Census uses two different ways 
to measure this: percentage non-metropolitan and percentage rural. Percentage 
non-metropolitan measures the percentage of a region's population that lives 
outside of defined metropolitan areas. 20 (This is a measure that is generally used 
by government agencies and, indeed, it is the one used by the National 
Endowment for the Arts and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies 
when they are trying to measure how well their programs are meeting the needs 
of these populations.) Percentage rural, on the other hand, recognizes that there 
may well be rural areas within the metropolitan areas defined by the Bureau of 
the Census definition and separates them out. Put another way, metropolitan 
areas are defined as areas that are highly populated and economically inte- 
grated, urban areas are defined as a central city or cities plus the surrounding 
closely settled territory. Thus, the two provide somewhat different but related 
measures. 

One would expect percentage non-metropolitan to be negatively correlated 
with participation rates, and this is the case across the board. The strength of 
this correlation is highest for ballet (r = -0.74), for jazz (r = -0.73), and for clas- 
sical music (r = -0.72). 

Similarly, one would expect percentage rural also to be negatively correlated 
with participation rates, and it is. It is most highly correlated with participation 
in dance forms other than ballet (r = -0.86), with opera (r = -0.79), and with art 
museums and galleries (r = -0.76). 

Neither of these measures dominates the other. In some cases percent non- 
metropolitan is the better predictor of participation rates at the regional level; 
in other cases percent rural is better. 



Explaining Variation in Participation Rates Across Regions 87 



they answer questions about the latter? On the other hand, this result may sim- 
ply be due to instability caused by the relatively small number of participants in 
dance who happen to be captured in the various samples. 

As measured by the strength of the correlation coefficient — i.e. its value 
rather than its sign — median household income, when considered by itself, is a 
better predictor of participation rates in each of the art forms than is percent- 
age below the poverty level. 

Level of the Minority Population 

From a public policy point of view it is important to test whether or not the 
percentage of the population that is minority is a strong predictor of participa- 
tion rates. Arts organizations and arts funding agencies exert considerable effort 
on expanding the participation of minorities in the arts and culture. 

Using the data collected as part of the SPPA one can approach the analysis 
of minority participation in a number of ways. For the purposes of this mono- 
graph, I have chosen a rather straightforward definition of "minority"; I have 
considered any respondent who answered the SPPA question on race and did 
not identify himself or herself as "White, but not of Hispanic origin" to be a 
member of a minority group. 19 

At the regional level, percentage minority has mixed value as a predictor of 
participation. Surprisingly, it has virtually no correlation with participation in 
jazz (though this result would undoubtedly have been different if a distinction 
had been made between blacks, whose participation rate in jazz is quite high, 
and other minorities, particularly Hispanics, whose participation rate in jazz is 
quite a bit lower). Somewhat less of a surprise, there is also virtually no corre- 
lation with participation in opera, classical music, reading literature, or visiting 
art museums. Percentage minority has a moderate positive correlation with par- 
ticipation in ballet and other forms of dance, again leading one to wonder about 
the particulars of the audiences for dance (and to worry about the relative sam- 
ple size). The strongest correlations are with attendance at historic parks (r = 
-0.68) and with attendance at fairs or festivals (r = -0.74), suggesting that these 
forms may be less attractive to minority audiences. Of course, because of the 
inability to complete a multivariate analysis at the regional level of aggregation, 
it is not possible to draw a definitive conclusion with respect to the pure influ- 
ence of this variable on participation. 

Geographic Distribution of Residents 

How the residents of a region are distributed throughout that region may 
indicate quite a lot about their relative proximity to arts and cultural opportu- 



Explaining Variation in Participation Rates Across Regions I 89 



State Arts Expenditures 

The final column of Table 7.1 explores a rather different direction. It asks to 
what extent expenditures on the arts and culture at the regional level are linked 
to participation rates, but it explores this relationship in only a very rough way. 

A rather simple measure of regional arts expenditures is constructed here, 
beginning with the simplest of all definitions of state arts expenditures: the 1997 
appropriations for each state arts agency. These appropriations are then added 
together for all of the states in each region and divided by the population of the 
region. No attempt to include funds transferred to each state from the National 
Endowment for the Arts, expenditures that might be made by state agencies 
other than the designated state arts agencies, any other income that might come 
to the state arts agency from other sources, or any indirect aid that might result 
through foregone taxes at the state level has been made. There is no way to 
identify the expenditures of these appropriations by art form. 

The direction of causation that might be implied here is considerably more 
murky than for the other variables explored in Table 7.1. Do increased partici- 
pation rates put more pressure on state legislatures resulting in higher regional 
expenditures on the arts and culture per capita, or do higher appropriations to 
the arts and culture ultimately lead to higher participation rates? Or are higher 
appropriations per capita a response to low participation rates in the hope of 
raising them? Some research has been conducted on these questions; 21 here the 
correlation between the two is simply measured. 

All of the correlations with regional appropriations per capita are positive 
except for other dance, whose correlation coefficient is essentially zero. Given 
the high level of geographic aggregation here and the fact that it is not possible 
to disaggregate regional appropriations per capita by art form, it is not surpris- 
ing that the correlations are not particularly strong. Nevertheless, non-musical 
plays (r = +0.78) and historic parks or monuments (r = +0.76) provide rather 
strong exceptions. 

Overall, the analysis summarized in Table 7.1 demonstrates that certain of these 
variables, when specified in certain ways, are rather good predictors of the regional 
variation in participation rates, particularly percentage with a bachelor's degree 
and median household income. This means that they surely must play a role in any 
fuller explanation of that variation. At the regional level, there are few surprises, 
with the correlation coefficients behaving more or less as expected. 



90 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Explanations Based on the Geographic Distribution of 
Organizations 

As we have seen, participation by the residents of a region is linked in many 
ways to their demographic characteristics, but it is also linked to the presence 
and accessibility of arts and cultural organizations. In this section, a very rough 
analysis of the relationship between participation rates and the presence of arts 
and cultural organizations of various types is presented. This analysis is com- 
plicated by the fact that good data sources documenting the existence and 
location of various arts and cultural organizations are still to be developed. (As 
of this monograph, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National 
Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and the Urban Institute are working on the 
development of a unified database on arts organizations, which promises to rec- 
tify much of this problem.) 

The source chosen for data on the geographic distribution of arts and cul- 
tural organizations is the 1992 Census of Service Industries. 22 This provides a 
useful but incomplete enumeration of arts and cultural organizations. The uni- 
verse of organizations that receive questionnaires as part of this census includes 
(1) filers of FICA reports that provide payroll tax information to the Social 
Security Administration and (2) filers of IRS business income tax or informa- 
tion reports (Form 990). Very small organizations and organizations that are 
operated as subsidiaries of organizations that are classified in different indus- 
tries (e.g. college and university art museums or performing arts centers) are 
unlikely to be included in either of these lists. Nevertheless, this source is prob- 
ably the best that is currently available, though efforts are continuing to 
improve the quality and coverage of such data. 

A second problem is that the categories that are used in the Census of Service 
Industries do not correspond to the art form definitions that are used in the 
SPPA surveys. Generally, the categories used in the Census of Service Industries 
are broader ones than those separately identified in SPPA, though they do dis- 
tinguish between organizations that are commercial and operating for a profit 
and those that are nonprofit, which might be helpful in untangling the determi- 
nants of participation rates. Special tabulations prepared by the Bureau of the 
Census from the 1992 Census of Service Industries consider "Symphony 
Orchestras, Operas, and Chamber Music Organizations" as one broad category 
that is further subdivided into commercial and nonprofit organizations; the 
other major music category is "Other Music Groups and Artists." Participation 
rates in jazz have been correlated with the latter, even though there is little rea- 
son to believe that the geographic distribution of organizations in the latter 



Explaining Variation in Participation Rates Across Regions I 91 



category in any way approximates the distribution of jazz organizations and 
venues. Of necessity, participation rates in opera and in classical music are cor- 
related with the entire category of symphony orchestras, operas, and chamber 
music organizations. Also reported are correlations with all music organizations 
taken together, and, finally, with all of the arts and cultural organizations 
reported (a variable that is less likely to provide a good predictor than the oth- 
ers that have more natural links to the eight art forms). 

Theater is similar to music in its complexity. The major categories in the 
Census of Service Industries are "Live Theatrical Producers" and "Other 
Theatrical Producers and Services," neither of which corresponds to the dis- 
tinction drawn in the participation data between musical plays and non-musical 
plays. Participation rates in ballet and other dance are simply correlated with dance 
groups and artists, and attendance at art museums is correlated with museums and 
art galleries. The latter is probably the art form for which the SPPA definition and 
the Bureau of Census Industries definition most closely correspond. 

Number of Organizations per Capita 

In correlating participation rates by region with the geographic distribution 
of arts and cultural organizations, it makes most sense to use measures of orga- 
nizational density to measure relative geographic distribution. Correlating the 
number of organizations of various types per capita with the appropriate par- 
ticipation rate across the nine regions results in Table 7.2a. 

Generally speaking, the sector-specific correlations reported in the first three 
columns of Table 7.2a are all quite high and positive, indicating that participa- 
tion in seven of the eight key art forms is strongly and directly related to the 
number of organizations of that type per capita in the region. The correlation 
results in the category "other music groups and artists" is harder to interpret. 
Some of these correlation coefficients are quite small; some are actually nega- 
tive. These results are probably not very important from a substantive point of 
view because of the miscellaneous nature of this organizational category. The 
correlation coefficients for all music organizations per capita are also quite 
small; this is likely due to the very broad coverage of this category. 

The far right-hand column reports the correlations of participation rates in 
each of the key art forms with the total of all arts and cultural organizations per 
capita in the nine regions. These correlation coefficients are surprisingly high, 
yet they are generally not as high as the correlations that are seen when organ- 
izations are disaggregated by field. 



92 



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Number of Organizations per Square Mile 

An alternative measure of the geographic density of arts and cultural organ- 
izations is the number of organizations per square mile. This measure offers a 
rough way of measuring accessibility. Table 7.2b repeats the analysis of Table 
7.2a using organizations of various types per square mile rather than organiza- 
tions per capita as the independent variable. 

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as the independent variable. At the regional level organizations per square mile 
is not as good a predictor of participation rates as is organizations per capita. 

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per square mile is the stronger predictor while in other cases organization per 
capita is better. Given the indistinct and broad boundaries of these categories, 
this is probably not too surprising. 



94 



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8. Explaining Variation in Participation 
Rates Across States 



This section of the monograph repeats the analysis reported in Section 7, but 
with respect to the ten states rather than the nine regions. What patterns are 
revealed at the state level that are not revealed at the regional level, and what 
regional patterns disappear when participation behavior is considered at the 
state level? The choice of level of aggregation is an important analytical choice 
that can make an important difference in what one sees. 

The caveat that has already been voiced several times still applies: we have 
no idea how representative these ten states are of the entire fifty states. Thus, 
the analysis presented in this section should be understood solely as an analysis 
of the relationship between the variables under consideration for these states 
alone and not as a representation of what we might find if we were able to con- 
duct this analysis with adequate data on all of the fifty states. 

Demographic Explanations 

In this section, the same demographic variables as were used in Section 7 are 
investigated, but this time they are measured at the state level. The correlation coef- 
ficients that result when participation rates for each art form are correlated with 
each of the explanatory variables over the ten states are reported in Table 8.1. 

Educational Level 

As before, Table 8.1 uses two alternative ways of measuring the educational 
level of a state: (1) the percentage of the adult population age 25 or older that 
has graduated from high school and (2) the percentage of the adult population 
age 25 or older that has earned a bachelor's degree. 

With respect to the percentage of high school graduates, the correlation coef- 
ficients show a number of surprises. Most importantly, none of the relationships 
(as measured by the correlation coefficient) is particularly strong. Moreover, 
attendance at art museums and galleries and attendance at non-musical plays 
shows virtually no correlation with the percentage of the adult population that 
has graduated from high school. Participation in dance, whether at ballet or at 
other dance forms, is actually negatively correlated with the percentage of high 
school graduates — the higher the percentage of high school graduates, the lower 
the participation rate in either of these art forms. Surprisingly, the strongest cor- 
relation is with attendance at arts or crafts fairs and festivals (r = +0.48), 
followed closely by a very different art form, classical music (r = +0.47). 



96 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Thus, ir appears that the percentage of high school graduates is not a partic- 
ularly good predictor of participation for any of the art forms, at least for these 
ten states. It is possible, of course, that the effect of this variable is being masked 
by the presence of another variable and if one were able to separate out the 
effect of that other variable, the effect of this variable would be more clearly 
revealed. But this is not always possible with such analyses. 



Explaining Variation in Participation Rates Across Regions 



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98 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Percentage of adults with a bachelor's degree, on the other hand, is a much 
better predictor, presumably because it better specifies one of the attributes in 
educational level that does make a difference in participation. Nearly all of the 
correlation coefficients are now positive, indicating direct relationships between 
this variable and participation rates in the various art forms. The one exception 
is for attendance at arts and crafts fairs or festivals for which the correlation 
coefficient is negative. Because this is such a different art form, much more pop- 
ulist than the others, one is not at all surprised to find a negative correlation 
here. Moreover, with the exception of jazz, all of the correlation coefficients are 
stronger (i.e. closer to 1.0, irrespective of sign) for percentage with bachelor's 
degrees than for percentage of high school graduates. Some of the correlation 
coefficients are very strong: arts museums and galleries (r = +0.92), reading lit- 
erature (r = +0.81), and visiting historic parks or monuments (r = +0.80). 

Comparing the correlation coefficients for these two measures of educational 
attainment for these ten states (Table 8.1) with the corresponding correlation 
coefficients for the nine regions (Table 7.1) reveals that both of these variables 
are much better predictors of the various participation rates at the regional 
level. It is possible that these variables may be more able to assert their influ- 
ence on participation at the regional level than at the state level — participation, 
after all, is not deterred by state boundaries (or regional boundaries, for that 
matter) — but what seems more likely is that the state analysis simply misses 
measuring much of the relationship between educational attainment and par- 
ticipation because it is truncated to a non-random sample of ten states. If SPPA 
had included a sufficient number of respondents to estimate participation for 
each of the fifty states (or even for a random sample of states), the analysis at 
the state level might also have resulted in higher correlations. 

Income Level 

At the state level, median household income is positively correlated with par- 
ticipation in each of the art forms except ballet and fairs or festivals. The 
negative correlation with attendance at fairs or festivals is less surprising, given 
what we have already seen about the rather different patterns of participation 
in this type of cultural activity. The negative correlation with ballet is more sur- 
prising. One wonders whether the income level of audiences for ballet is rather 
different from the income level of audiences for other an forms and rather dif- 
ferent from the state populations from which they are drawn, at least with 
respect to income. These possibilities can be explored to some extent using the 
audience results reported in Section 10 of this monograph. But once again there 



Explaining Variation in Participation Rates Across Regions I 99 



is the lingering suspicion that the negative correlation with participation rates 
in ballet may simply be due to the instability of small sample sizes. 

Median household income of a state is most highly correlated with reading 
literature (r = +0.70). It is also highly correlated with attendance at plays (r = 
+0.64 for musical plays and +0.63 for non-musical plays). These results are per- 
haps understandable because of the relative cost of attending plays as compared 
to the cost of attending most of the other art forms, but, of course, the lower 
correlation of median household income with participation in opera, the most 
expensive art form of all to attend, seems to call this explanation into question. 

Generally, one would expect negative correlations between participation 
rates in the various art forms and percentage below the poverty level, and, 
indeed, seven of the eleven correlation coefficients are negative. The fact that 
percentage below the poverty level is moderately positively correlated with par- 
ticipation rates for both ballet and other forms of dance suggests once again 
that either there may be something particular about these audiences worth iden- 
tifying or that we may be observing the results of basing an analysis on small 
sample sizes. Nevertheless, as measured by the strength of the correlation coef- 
ficient, percentage below the poverty level, when considered by itself, is a better 
predictor of participation rates in ballet and other forms of dance (and arts and 
crafts fairs) than is median household income. For other art forms and cultural 
activities it is a poorer predictor. 

As was the case with educational attainment, these measures of income level 
are generally poorer predictors of participation rates across the ten states than 
they are across the nine regions, and this probably happens for the combination 
of reasons already discussed above. Interestingly, though, not only does the cor- 
relation coefficient for percentage below the poverty level have an unexpected 
sign with respect to participation in ballet and participation in other forms of 
dance (the sample size problem once again?), it is also a better predictor (i.e. the 
absolute value of the correlation coefficient is greater) at the state level than at 
the regional level. Once again, this suggests the possibility that something dif- 
ferent may be happening demographically within the dance audience. 

Level of the Minority Population 

Percentage minority has mixed value as a predictor of participation at the 
state level. It has virtually no correlation with participation in jazz, but once 
again the aggregation of rather different minority groups into one measure of 
minority status may be masking important differences between blacks and 
Hispanics with respect to participation in this art form. Percentage minority 



100 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



also has little correlation with participation in opera, ballet, or art museums. It 
has a moderate positive correlation with participation in other dance forms and 
a moderate negative correlation with participation in classical music perform- 
ances as well as with attendance at arts or crafts fairs. 

Geographic Distribution of Residents 

Using the three measures of geographic distribution to capture aspects of rel- 
ative location leads to the following results at the state level. Population per 
square mile is positively correlated with participation in all of the arts forms 
except for attendance at arts or crafts fairs, repeating the emerging pattern. In 
a number of cases population per square mile is a very good predictor, indeed: 
non-musical plays (r = +0.77); reading literature (also r = +0.77, though it is 
unclear why population density would affect the most individual and most dis- 
persed form of art participation unless residential density is a good proxy for 
the availability of bookstores and libraries, which it may well be); musical plays (r 
= +0.61); and visiting historic parks or monuments (r = +0.65, which clearly makes 
sense because higher density would mean that at least that state's parks and mon- 
uments would be in closer average proximity to more of the population). 

Turning next to the relative concentration of the population in urban as 
opposed to non-urban areas, one would expect percentage non-metropolitan to 
be negatively correlated with participation rates and, indeed, that is the case 
except, once again, for attendance at arts and crafts fairs. The strength of this 
correlation is highest for non-musical plays (r = -0.81, an unsurprising result); 
for art museums and galleries (r = -0.73, also unsurprising); and for reading lit- 
erature (r = -0.78, causing one to wonder once again whether percent 
non-metropolitan is, perhaps, a proxy for the lack of accessibility to bookstores 
and libraries). For all of the other art forms the strength of the correlation is 
moderate. 

At the state level percentage rural is generally a poorer predictor of partici- 
pation rates than percentage non-metropolitan is. Only with respect to 
participation in dance other than ballet is this correlation stronger. Again the 
correlation coefficients are negative except for attendance at arts or crafts fairs, 
reinforcing the distinctness of participation in this art form. The correlation of 
percentage rural with attendance at ballet performances is essentially zero. 

These measures of the geographic distribution of residents are often, but not 
always, better predictors of participation rates at the regional level (Table 7.1) 
than at the state level (Table 8.1). The caveats are the same as before. 



Explaining Variation in Participation Rates Across Regions I 101 



State Arts Expenditures 

The final column of Table 8.1 examines the relationship between state arts 
agency appropriations per capita and participation rates. With this variable, the 
division that we have observed between attendance at arts and crafts fairs and 
participation in all of the other art forms continues but changes its nature. Any 
correlation with attendance at arts and crafts fairs essentially disappears. The 
correlations with all of the other art forms are positive and in a couple of cases 
quite strong: classical music (r = +0.78) and jazz (r = +0.75). 

Perhaps surprisingly, state arts appropriations per capita are in some cases a 
better predictor of participation rates when they are aggregated to the regional 
level (Table 7.1) than when they are simply used at the state level (Table 8.1). 
Once again, the caveats discussed above apply. 

P & P 
Overall, the analysis summarized in Table 8.1 tells us that certain of these 
variables, when specified in certain ways, are rather good predictors of the vari- 
ation in participation rates. This means that they surely must play a role in any 
fuller explanation of that variation. We have also seen that, at the state level, 
attendance at arts and crafts fairs generally behaves in the reverse direction 
from participation in the other art forms, reinforcing what was suggested by the 
analysis in Section 5. Some of the results in Table 8.1 also suggest that it might 
be worth taking a look at the audiences for the various dance forms where par- 
ticipation rates seem sometimes to have different mathematical properties than 
in other art forms, though any results from such an analysis would have to be 
weighed against the possibility of instability due to relatively small sample sizes. 

Explanations Based on the Geographic Distribution of 
Organizations 

In this section the geographic distribution of organizations across states is 
considered and the extent to which the two different measures of this geo- 
graphic distribution are correlated with participation is tested. The same raw 
data are used as in Section 7 but without aggregation to the regional level. 

Number of Organizations per Capita 

Table 8.2a reports the correlation coefficients that are calculated by corre- 
lating participation rates with the number of organizations of various types per 
capita over the ten states. Participation in opera is highly correlated with all of 
the various specifications of the density of music organizations. Participation in 
classical music is moderately correlated with the various specifications of the 
density of symphony, opera, and chamber music organizations. Participation in 



102 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



ballet is highly correlated with the density of nonprofit dance groups and artists, 
but less correlated with the density of commercial dance groups and artists. 
Attendance at art museums and galleries is strongly correlated with the density 
of nonprofit museums as well as with the density of all museums. 

Comparing Table 8.2a to Table 7.2a leads to the by now familiar observa- 
tion that, generally speaking, the various specifications of organizations per 
capita are generally better predictors of participation rates in the respective art 
forms at the regional level than at the state level. The standard caveats apply. 

Number of Organizations per Square Mile 

Table 8.2b reports the same correlations once again, but this time using num- 
ber of organizations per square mile as the measure of organizational location 
and density. Some of the highest correlation coefficients observed occur when 
participation rates are correlated with number of organizations per square mile. 
Arbitrarily selecting a correlation coefficient of +0.80 or higher as worthy of 
note, one finds no fewer than twelve such correlations in Table 8.2b. 
Organizations per square mile is a particularly good predictor for participation 
in classical music (r = +0.83), attendance at art museums (r = +0.81), and partici- 
pation in theater — the correlation between the number of live theatrical producers 
per square mile and participation in musical plays is r = +0.82, and the correspon- 
ding correlation with participation in non-musical plays is r = +0.76. 

For participation in musical plays, non-musical plays, and art museums, all 
of the correlation coefficients go up from what they were in Table 8.2a, indi- 
cating that at the state level organizations per square mile is a better predictor 
of participation rates for each of these art forms than organizations per capita. 23 
In the dance and musical sectors, on the other hand, the pattern is less clear with 
some of the correlations being higher for organizations per capita and some of 
the correlations being higher for organizations per square mile. 

Finally, while the correlations in Table 8.2b (states) tend to be higher than 
the correlations in Table 7.2b (regions), this pattern is not as striking as it is 
with the demographic analyses or the analysis by organizations per capita. 



Explaining Variation in Participation Rates Across Regions I 103 



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9. How to Change Participation Rates 



What can one do to increase participation levels? What hints are contained 
in the SPPA data? Sections 7 and 8 have already demonstrated that increasing 
the density of opportunities could be one way to increase participation levels. 
Do responses to any other SPPA questions suggest points of leverage or partic- 
ular policy instruments that might be particularly important? Three sections of 
the SPPA seem particularly useful in providing background of this sort: the sec- 
tion that asks questions concerning interest in increased participation, the 
section that asks questions concerning barriers to increased participation, and 
the section that asks questions concerning various socialization experiences that 
might affect later participation in the arts and culture. But at the outset one 
must note that because each of these sets of questions was asked of a subset of 
the overall sample, the random sampling errors associated with each of the esti- 
mates reported in this section of the monograph are larger than those reported in 
Section 2. That is to say, there is more uncertainty associated with each estimate. 

Interest in Increased Participation 

Earlier versions of the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts have uncov- 
ered surprisingly high levels of interest in increased participation in the arts and 
culture, and the 1997 SPPA is no exception. 

Table 9.1 provides a summary of the responses to the questions concerned 
with increased participation. 24 If one were to ask where the most interest in 
increased participation could be found it would be with respect to art museums 
and galleries: approximately two-thirds (67.1 percent) of the American adult 
population indicates that they would like to attend art museums and galleries 
more often. This is followed by plays: 53.6 percent would like to attend musi- 
cal plays more often and 54.0 percent would like to attend non-musical plays 
more often. Half of the adult population would like to attend dance forms other 
than ballet more often. 

There is less interest in increased participation in jazz and classical music — 
in both cases slightly more than a third of the adult population expresses a 
desire to attend more often — and there is even less pent up demand for ballet 
(27.4 percent) and opera (18.2 percent). Of course, one suspects that all of these 
estimates are high. If all impediments to attending these art forms were removed 
it would still be rather unlikely that all of those expressing a desire for increased 
participation would actually attend more. It is easy to say you would like to do 



1 06 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



something, less easy to say you would actually do it, and even less easy to actu- 
ally do it when the opportunity presents itself. 

Looking at these results one state at a time can help identify states in which 
there is a higher than average interest in increased participation and states in 
which it is lower than average. Residents of California, New York, and New 
Jersey (with a slight exception for classical music) report more interest in 
increased participation for all of the eight art forms than do the residents of the 
United States on average. Because these three states have generally turned up as 
high participation states in many of the analyses reported here, one wonders 
whether this might be due to a concentration of cultural institutions in these 
states raising the population's expectations or to the demands of a population 
that is particularly inclined toward these forms of cultural consumption. 



How to Change Participation Rates I 107 



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How to Change Participation Rates 109 



On the other end of the spectrum, Pennsylvania's residents show less interest 
in increased participation than average across the art forms; and Ohio's resi- 
dents show less interest than average for all of the art forms except art 
museums, for which they show slightly more interest. Interest in increased par- 
ticipation among residents of the other states is more mixed, above the national 
average for some art forms and below the national average for others. 

To go beyond this broad brush summary with the results reported in Table 
9.1 is a bit difficult to justify, especially given the effect of the sampling error 
that accompanies each of these estimates. 

What is important to notice, however, is the fact that an interest in increased 
participation is expressed more often by those who have attended a particular 
art form in the previous twelve months than by those who have not. To see this, 
compare the second row to the third row for each art form. 

By way of illustration, consider a couple of examples. While only 29.2 per- 
cent of the respondents who did not attend a jazz performance in the previous 
year express a desire to attend more often, over three-quarters (75.3 percent) 
who did attend express a desire to attend more often; thus, the level of interest 
in increased participation is two and a half times higher among attendees than 
among non-attendees. While only 16.2 percent of the respondents who did not 
attend an opera performance in the previous year express a desire to attend 
more often, 57.1 percent of those who did attend express the same desire, a 
level that is more than three times higher. 

For nearly no state or art form, with the major exception of opera, does the 
level of interest in increased participation fall below 70 percent for attendees; 
occasionally it rises above 90 percent. Levels of interest in increased participa- 
tion among non-attendees, on the other hand, are more typically in the twenty 
to forty percent range for jazz, classical music, and ballet, while they are in the 
40 to 60 percent range for dance other than ballet, musical plays, non-musical 
plays, and art museums and galleries. For opera, the levels of interest in 
increased participation are quite a bit lower for both attendees and non-atten- 
dees, generally in the 50 to 70 percent range for attendees and in the 10 to 20 
percent range for non-attendees. 

These figures pose an interesting dilemma for those concerned with increas- 
ing arts attendance. They suggest that it might be easiest to coax an additional 
visit out of the members of the current audience (especially since they are eas- 
ier to find and identify), but because the number of non-attendees is larger than 
the numbers of attendees, particularly for opera and ballet, there may well be 
more non-attendees than attendees who are interested in increased participa- 



110 ! The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



tion. An efficient marketing strategy has to be carefully targeted to distinguish 
between attendees and non-attendees. 

Though it is possible to make state by state comparisons of the desire for 
increased participation — one might speculate, for example, about the higher 
levels of interest in increased opera participation in New York, California, and 
Florida, for example; or the extremely low level of interest in increased opera 
participation in Illinois and Ohio; or the elevated levels of interest in theater par- 
ticipation in New York and New Jersey — it is difficult to interpret any particular 
result without considerable contextual information (and without closer attention 
to whether the differences might be simply attributable to sampling error). 

Barriers to Increased Participation 

What do respondents cite as the primary barriers to their increased partici- 
pation in the arts and culture? The SPPA questionnaire offered a list of possible 
barriers to increased participation in order to gauge their relative importance. 

The issue of sample size becomes even more important here, as the questions 
concerning barriers to participation were only asked of those respondents who 
expressed a desire to attend at least one of the eight key art forms more often, 
and those who were asked about their desire to attend more often were, them- 
selves, a subset of the overall sample. Thus, the sampling error, particularly 
when disaggregated by state, increases once again. 

Respondents who expressed a desire to attend one or more of the art forms 
more often were asked to identify from a list of possible reasons those factors 
that kept them from attending performances or art museums as often as they 
would like. They were invited to identify as many responses as they wished. 
These responses are summarized in Table 9.2. 

The most often cited barrier across all the states — "It is difficult to make time 
to go out." — is cited by nearly two-thirds of those who would like to attend 
more often. This, of course, is a barrier that arts organizations or arts funding 
organizations are powerless to affect. The next three barriers, cited by approx- 
imately half of those who would like to attend more often are more amenable 
to policy intervention: "'Tickers are too expensive" (cited by 52.1 percent); 
"There are not many performances held or art museums or galleries in my area" 
(55.7 percent); and "The location is usually not convenient" (47.0 percent). 
Thus, price, location, and frequency of performance are key variables to which 
these responses point. 

As they are presented in Table 9.2, the first six barriers are barriers that 
might be affected through policy interventions of one sort or another, though it 



How to Change Participation Rates I 111 



would not necessarily be easy to do so. The last four barriers are more personal 
in nature and, therefore, more resistant to policy intervention, though some 
imaginative planning and management might make a difference, e.g. forming 
affinity groups for attendees who do not wish to attend alone, providing on-site 
child care, or easing access and interpretation for individuals with handicaps. 
The seventh barrier — "I think I may feel uncomfortable or out of place." — falls 
squarely between these two groups; surely the degree of comfort has something 
to do with the characteristics of the individual as well as with the characteris- 
tics of the institution or event that one might attend. 

Once again, speculating about the meaning of specific levels of response for 
particular states is a bit difficult without more, information. Does the fact that 
the lack of performances is cited so much less often among Massachusetts resi- 
dents who would like to attend more often than among similar residents of 
other states actually reflect the relative frequency of performances and the rela- 
tive density of available institutions? What is the explanation for the fact that a 
much higher percentage of the New Jersey residents who would like to attend 
more often cite safety concerns as a barrier to higher participation than do res- 
idents of the other states? Is it because their logical destination would be New 
York City? If so, is it a factual concern, a perceptual concern, or something else? 
Why do only 9.4 percent of those in Massachusetts who would like to attend 
more often cite the fact that there is no one to go with, as compared to a 
national average of 21.8 percent? Indeed, are there substantive explanations 
here or are we just observing the small number of large differences that we 
would expect to observe because of sampling error? 



112 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



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How to Change Participation Rates I 113 



Socialization 



Another fundamental way in which the populations of the various states 
might differ in a manner that might be expected to affect participation rates, is 
in the degree of socialization to the various art forms that those populations 
may have experienced. 

Table 9.3 reports the level of various socialization activities among the 
American adult population. Nearly half of American adults report having had 
lessons or classes in music at one time or another in their lives. Roughly, 25 per- 
cent report having taken lessons or a class in the visual arts, 25 percent report 
having taken lessons or a class in creative writing, 25 percent report having 
taken a class in art appreciation or art history, and 25 percent report having 
taken a class in music appreciation. Smaller proportions of the adult population 
have had acting lessons or dance lessons. 

What is most striking about Table 9.3, perhaps, is the fact that the variation 
across states for participation in each type of socialization is so small. At least 
for these ten states, there is hardly any variation in the level of each form of 
socialization. Even so, some states stand out. California, Florida, Massachusetts 
and New Jersey have higher than average levels for all of the eight forms of 
socialization identified here; Illinois has higher than average levels for all forms 
except acting lessons; and New York has higher than average levels for all forms 
except music lessons. Texas, on the other hand, has lower than average levels 
for all forms or socialization, while Pennsylvania has lower than average levels 
for all forms except music appreciation classes. 

Given the low variation in socialization rates, there are hardly any levels (and 
forms) of socialization that stand out for a particular state. Perhaps 
Pennsylvania has an unusually low percentage of adults who have ever had les- 
sons or classes in the visual arts (20.2 percent as compared to a national average 
of 28.7 percent) or an unusually low percentage who have ever had lessons or 
classes in theater (6.4 percent as compared to 11.6 percent). Perhaps Texas has 
an unusually low percentage who have ever taken lessons or classes in creative 
writing (17.7 percent as compared to 24.6 percent) or an unusually low per- 
centage who have ever had a class in music appreciation (15.8 percent as 
compared to 23.3 percent). New Jersey, on the other hand, may have an unusu- 
ally high percentage who have had a class in music appreciation (31.4 percent 
as compared to 23.3 percent). 



114 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



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115 



10. The Demographics of Audiences 



This section of this monograph departs from a direct consideration of par- 
ticipation rates and turns to a rather different way of employing the SPPA data, 
looking at geographic differences in participation in the eight key art forms. 
Previous research using data from the various Surveys of Public Participation 
and the Arts has pointed repeatedly to the importance of various demographic 
variables in predicting participation in the arts and culture, and I have already 
looked at several ways of exploring these relationships in Section 6 of this 
monograph. Using SPPA data it is also possible to use demographic information 
in another way — to construct demographic profiles of the audiences for various 
art forms, facilitating comparison across art forms as well as across states. In 
this section of the monograph, a number of such profiles are constructed. This 
will involve considerably more tabular analysis than has been necessary in the 
other parts of this monograph. 

The analyses reported here consider four important demographic variables: 
educational level, income level, race/ethnicity, and gender. All four of these are 
important variables in explaining variations in participation levels and all four 
are of concern to arts organizations and arts funding agencies, both of whom 
would like to have the audiences of arts and cultural activities better reflect the 
demographics of the American population. 

Visitors v. Visits 

In studying audiences it is always important to remember the critical dis- 
tinction between visitors and visits. Here, a visitor to a particular art form is 
someone who reports having attended that art form at least once in the previ- 
ous twelve months. Visitors are separate, identifiable individuals who have 
attended one or another of the arts forms. Yet visitors might make many visits 
to a particular art form during the year, several visits, or even only one visit. The 
audiences that arts organizations see coming through the door and sitting in the 
auditorium are audiences that are made up of visits; frequent attendees show up 
proportionately more frequently in these audiences than do infrequent atten- 
dees. This distinction comes up most clearly, perhaps, when comparing the two 
primary ways of studying arts audiences: participation studies such as SPPA are, 
in the first instance, studies of visitors; audience surveys, on the other hand, are 
studies of visits. Another way to think about this distinction is to think about 
possible applications of these analyses. The arts manager who is most con- 



1 1 6 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



cerned about ticket sales will, arguably, be more concerned about the profile of 
visits than the profile of visitors: what are the demographic characteristics of 
those who are purchasing seats? The director of marketing or of the sales shop 
may be more concerned about the profile of visitors: how many different, iden- 
tifiable people are we attracting and what are their demographic 
characteristics? Similarly, the development director will also be concerned about 
visitors: how many different, identifiable people might we tap for contributions 
to the organization and what are their characteristics? 

Each of the analyses that follows begins with a demographic profile of visi- 
tors derived directly from the information given by respondents to the Survey 
of Public Participation in the Arts. Then a second analysis is presented, which 
weights each respondent by his or her frequency of attendance to the art form 
in question and which allows the creation of a demographic profile of visits. 25 

Caveats 

The problem of small sample size affects a number of the analyses that one 
would like to present for a full demographic consideration of the various arts 
audiences. First, the samples for some states are considerably smaller than oth- 
ers; second, the participation in some art forms, particularly opera and ballet is 
quite low as compared to the other art forms, reducing further the number of 
respondents on which a demographic profile of the audience can be built; third, 
the more categories into which each demographic variable is categorized, the 
more likely it is that some of those categories will have extremely few or even 
no cases in them; and fourth, some categories are small in any event (e.g. the 
number of American Indian or Alaskan Natives in the population of some 
states) so it is likely that few such cases would be picked up in any sample. 
Taken together, these factors mean that some of the results that follow are 
affected to an unusual degree by small sample sizes. This is clearest to see when 
no cases show up in a particular demographic category. These situations are 
indicated by a dash "-" in the appropriate cell of the table. But any analysis for 
a state with a small sample size, for a low participation art form, with a multi- 
ple category demographic variable should be treated with extreme caution. 
Because of the relatively generous sample size, results for California (as well as 
for the United States as a whole) are immune from this concern. 

A related problem occurs when a respondent who has a low probability of 
turning up in the sample for demographic reasons is actually selected and hap- 
pens to have an unusually high frequency of attendance for a particular art 
form. This can result in surprisingly large numbers in certain categories in the 



The Demographics of Audiences I 117 



analysis by visits. Results that are likely to suffer from this problem are high- 
lighted in the discussion that follows. 

The analyses in this chapter are presented by state because the demographic 
profile of the adult population of each state is the appropriate base of compar- 
ison. Each audience should be compared to the pool from which it draws. 
However, this does not mean that an analysis using SPPA data actually provides 
a profile of audiences in each of the ten states. For example, if an arts institu- 
tion in Massachusetts looked at its audience it would find residents of other 
states, residents of other countries, and children younger than the age of eight- 
een in its audience. What this means is that the "audiences" that can be 
constructed using SPPA data are the audiences that would be made up of the 
adult residents of each state who report having attended a particular art form. 
Thus, in some sense, they are hypothetical audiences, ones that we would never 
observe in a particular place at a particular point in time. Nevertheless, these 
hypothetical audiences are of considerable analytical interest because they do high- 
light important demographic patterns that relate, at least in part, to the arts and 
cultural opportunities that are available in each state as well as to the demographic 
and socialization characteristics of the adult population of that state. 

Each of the tables in this section reports a profile of the entire adult popula- 
tion of the state in question (or the United States as a whole) by one or another 
of the key demographic variables as well as the equivalent profile of the audi- 
ences in that state for each of the individual art forms. Instead of using United 
States Bureau of the Census data to create these profiles of the entire adult pop- 
ulation, the profile of the relevant adult population is derived by applying the 
weights developed within the SPPA itself to both the attendees and non-atten- 
dees included in the SPPA sample. On occasion, this method of calculating a 
demographic profile of the adult population gives results that are somewhat dif- 
ferent from the data reported by the Bureau of the Census. Nevertheless, 
calculating these profiles from the SPPA data themselves seems to be preferable 
in the current context because it provides a base of comparison that is consis- 
tent with, and therefore comparable to, the calculations that have been done to 
establish the various profiles of visits and visitors. 

In the pages that follow some eighty-eight tables are presented: 

visitors or visits x ten states plus the United States x four demo- 
graphic variables 

This presentation is done systematically and slowly, so that with the 
roadmap set out above, it should be relatively easy to follow the analysis. 



118 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Educational Level 

Previous research based on the Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts has 
consistently shown educational level to be the most important predictor of par- 
ticipation in the arts and culture, so this is perhaps the most reasonable place to 
begin. To analyze the profile of audiences according to educational level, a rel- 
atively compact categorization scheme with five categories has been adopted: 
those who have less than a high school education, those who completed their 
education as a high school graduate, those who have had some college but have 
no degree, those who have received a bachelors degree but no graduate degree, 
and those who have received a graduate degree. 26 

Table 10.1a summarizes the distribution of visitors by education for the eight 
art forms for each of the ten states as well as for the United States as a whole. 
Begin by looking at the data for the United States, the last information pre- 
sented in the table. These data clearly indicate the importance of education in 
predicting whether someone will be a visitor to any of the art forms. For all of 
the art forms, visitors are more highly distributed toward upper educational lev- 
els than is the overall adult population. For example, whereas individuals with 
graduate degrees comprise 6.9 percent of the adult population of the United 
States, they comprise 20.4 percent of visitors to opera performances (the art 
form for which visitors are most skewed toward upper educational levels). 55 
percent of the visitors to opera performances and nearly half of the visitors to 
classical music performances have one or another college degree, whereas only 
22 percent of the adult population has such a degree. On the other hand, adults 
with less than a high school education comprise slightly more than 20 percent of 
the adult population but comprise small percentages of the number of visitors to 
each of the arts forms. Overall, adults with a high school diploma or less are under- 
represented among visitors, irrespective of the art form, whereas adults with more 
than a high school diploma are over-represented among visitors. 

The remainder of Table 10.1a allows one to look at these patterns state by 
state, in each case making a comparison to the educational profile of that state's 
own adult population. The dashes scattered throughout these tables remind us 
of the fact that the sample sizes get very small or even disappear in some of these 
cells, so that one should focus on broad patterns rather than on specific cell-by- 
cell differences. 

Table 10.1b weights individual respondents by the appropriate frequency of 
attendance and presents the resulting distributions of visits by educational level. 
The basic observation to be made here is that because individuals with higher 
levels of education also have higher frequencies of attendance, the various dis- 



The Demographics of Audiences I 11 9 



tributions of visits are skewed even more toward higher educational levels than 
are the corresponding distributions of visitors. Thus, for example, the 22 per- 
cent of the American adult population with college degrees, while generating 
nearly half of the visitors to classical music and 55 percent of the visitors to 
opera, generates nearly 60 percent of the visits to both. 



1 20 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



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1 32 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



Income Level 

Income is another variable that has been shown to be an important predic- 
tor of participation, albeit a somewhat less important predictor than 
educational level. The SPPA reports each respondent's household income, so 
that measure is used here to draw demographic profiles of both visitors and vis- 
its to the various,art forms by state. 

Table 10.2a summarizes the distributions of visitors by household income for 
the eight art forms for each of the ten states as well as for the United States as 
a whole. Beginning, once again, with the United States as a whole, while 
approximately 16 percent of the Adult population had household incomes 
higher than $75,000. roughly twice that percentage of visitors to each of the art 
forms had incomes that high or higher. In other words, these income groups 
were over-represented in the audience of visitors to these art forms by a ratio of 
about 2:1. Individuals with household incomes less than $40,000 are under-rep- 
resented among visitors to each of the art forms, whereas individuals with 
incomes greater than 550,000 are over-represented among visitors to each of 
the art forms. 

Once again, it is difficult to systematically digest the vast quantity of informa- 
tion that is presented for the various states here. The best advice is to focus on the 
state or the art form that most interests you to see what patterns have emerged. 

Table 10.2b weights individual respondents by the appropriate frequency of 
attendance and presents the resulting distribution of visits by household 
income. The results here are not as clear-cut as they were when considering edu- 
cational level. Apparently, frequency of attendance does not rise systematically 
with household income, so changes between the distribution of visitors and the 
distribution of visits are less predictable. In some cases, low-income groups 
make up a higher percentage of visits than they do of visitors. One of the expla- 
nations of this result may be the presence of students, who often may be high 
frequency attendees, among those with low incomes. /Another explanation is 
possible if certain art forms attract younger audiences than others, audiences 
whose incomes, therefore, might be expected to be lower. Yet another explana- 
tion might he in relative household size and the fact that, ceteris paribus, larger 
households would be expected to have larger household incomes. These alter- 
native explanations notwithstanding, with the exception of the audience for 
other dance, individuals with household incomes less than $40,000 are under- 
represented among visits to each of the art forms, whereas individuals with 
incomes greater than $50,000 are over-represented among visits to each of the 
art forms. 



The Demographics of Audiences 



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Race/Ethnicity 

Of concern in many government art programs is the degree to which various 
minority groups are represented in arts audiences and are participating, more 
generally, in arts and cultural activities. Although race and ethnicity are techni- 
cally considered to be two different demographic variables, the Office of 
Management and Budget has promulgated a set of guidelines for government 
sponsored survey research that calls for combining these two variables into a 
composite variable to measure the minority status of the American population. 
Accordingly, this practice was followed in the design of SPPA. Respondents 
were offered five categories as possible descriptions of their race/ethnicity: 
Hispanic, white not Hispanic, black not Hispanic, American Indian or Alaskan 
Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander. 

Table 10.3a summarizes the distributions of visitors by race/ethnicity for the 
eight key art forms for each of the ten states as well as for the United States as 
a whole. Beginning, once again, with the United States as a whole, white non- 
Hispanic individuals comprise just less than three-quarters of the American 
adult population. They are over-represented among visitors to each of the art 
forms except dance other than ballet, though this overrepresentation is rela- 
tively small except for classical music, opera, and ballet. Non-Hispanic blacks, 
who make up 11.3 percent of the American adult population, are over-repre- 
sented among visitors to jazz, dance other than ballet, and non-musical plays. 
Hispanics are over-represented among visitors to dance other than ballet. 

Turning attention to the distribution of visitors at the state level, one has to be 
extremely careful because of the problem of sample size and low numbers of cases. 
Nevertheless, one sees that Hispanics are over-represented among visitors to forms 
of dance other than ballet in New Jersey and New York and are very strongly over- 
represented among these visitors in Texas (where 27.8 percent of the adult 
population is Hispanic but 41.6 percent of visitors to other dance are Hispanic). 
Blacks are over-represented among visitors to jazz in all of these ten states. 

Table 10.3b weights individual respondents by the appropriate frequency of 
attendance and presents the resulting distribution of visits by race/ethnicity. 
Looking at the racial/ethnic distribution of visits for the United States as a 
whole, Hispanics are somewhat over-represented among visits to ballet as well 
as to other forms of dance; blacks are somewhat over-represented among visits 
to jazz as well as slightly over-represented among visits to other forms of dance. 

At the state level, Table 10.3b is particularly susceptible to the problems of 
small samples coupled with some unusually high frequencies that were observed 
for the individuals who happened to be included in those samples. For example, 



1 46 The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



the data suggest that non-Hispanic blacks make 32.1 percent of the visits to 
opera in Florida and that 39.7 percent of the visits to other dance are made by 
American Indians or Alaskan Natives. Neither of these is likely to be the case. 
Because of the considerably larger sample size, the results for California are 
likely to be the only ones for visits that can be used with confidence. 



The Demographics of Audiences 



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The Demographics of Audiences I 159 



Gender 



The final demographic variable that I will consider is gender. It is often 
claimed that audiences for many art forms are disproportionately female. The 
SPPA offers an opportunity to look at that question in some depth. 

Table 10.4a summarizes the distributions of visitors by gender for the eight 
art forms for each of the ten states as well as for the United States as a whole. 
Women comprise slightly more than half of the adult population of the United 
States. The only art form for which they are under-represented among visitors 
is jazz, for which they comprise 46.3 percent of visitors. Nearly two thirds of 
visitors to ballet performances are women, while the respective percentages for 
the other art forms are somewhat less. This general pattern also holds true for 
residents of California, Florida, Illinois, and New York, but for the other states 
there are some variations with women under-represented among visitors to 
some art forms. 

Table 10.4b weights individual respondents by the appropriate frequency of 
attendance and presents the resulting distribution of visits by gender. For the 
United States as a whole, women are over-represented among visits to classical 
music, opera, ballet, dance other than ballet, musical plays, non-musical plays, 
and art museums and galleries, though in some of these cases the difference in 
distribution is very slight. They are under-represented among visits to jazz. 



160 



The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



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11. In Summary 



Using data drawn primarily from the 1997 Survey of Public Participation in 
the Arts, this monograph has addressed two questions: 

• How do participation levels in the arts and culture vary geographically in 
the United States? 

And, more importantly, 

• Why do those participation levels vary? 

With the available data it has been possible to establish a baseline of partic- 
ipation rates for a variety of art forms both for the ten states for which the SPPA 
data are sufficient to allow a separate consideration and for all nine regions of 
the United States. These results have been presented in Sections 1, 2, 3, and 4. 

This monograph has also begun to explore a set of possible answers as to 
why participation levels vary. These results, summarized in Sections 5 through 
10, should be considered suggestive rather than definitive, but, nevertheless, 
they do suggest important factors that influence participation rates across geo- 
graphic areas. 

How Do Participation Levels Vary Geographically? 

With respect to live participation in the arts and culture, we have seen that 
most of these ten states have higher than average participation rates irrespective 
of art form. Certain states, most notably New York, Massachusetts, and New 
Jersey, stand out from the other six as states with generally high participation 
rates. Pennsylvania and Texas, on the other hand, systematically have lower 
than average participation rates. As expected, some art forms (art museums 
and musical plays) enjoy high participation rates across these states, while oth- 
ers (opera and ballet, in particular) have much lower participation rates. 

There may be some substitution among types of cultural participation, with 
the citizens of a particular state trading off participation in one art form with 
participation in another. The possibility of substitution is particularly strong 
when considering the tradeoff between the eight key art forms and the three 
other types of cultural activities considered here — reading literature, visiting his- 
toric parks or monuments, and visiting art of crafts fairs or festivals — which are 
more popular in their appeal. 

At a regional level, the highest participation rates can be found in New 
England, the Middle Atlantic region, and the Pacific region. New England has 



In Summary ! 169 



the highest participation rates for five of the eight key art forms that have been 
studied here and the second highest rate for two others. The East South Central 
region, on the other hand, reports the lowest participation rates for six of the 
eight art forms. The pattern differs somewhat for the three other cultural activ- 
ities, but the East South Central region still reports the lowest participation 
rates by a considerable margin. 

Participation in the arts and culture through various forms of media — televi- 
sion and video; radio; and records, compact discs, and tapes — also varies 
substantially across states. Depending on the media under consideration, 
California, Massachusetts, or New Jersey evidences the highest participation 
rates. Pennsylvania consistently has the lowest participation rates. 

Finally, direct participation through creation and through performance were 
also considered. Higher than average levels of participation in creation are 
reported for Massachusetts and New Jersey; a lower than average level is 
reported in Pennsylvania. Of the ten states considered here, Florida has the 
highest rate of participation in performance followed by Massachusetts. Ohio 
reports the lowest rate of participation in personal performance and California 
the second lowest. 

Taken together, these findings begin to suggest the shape of the arts partici- 
pation terrain with its highs and lows and with its interrelationships, but 
without additional data for the other forty states, one should be careful about 
comparisons that conclude that participation in a particular art form in a par- 
ticular state is unusually high or low. 

Why Do Participation Levels Vary Geographically? 

Beginning with sections 5 and 6 of this monograph, our attention turned to 
the second question: why do participation levels vary geographically? We 
began by asking what the relationship is between participation rates across art 
forms in order to focus on whether participation levels in one art form tend to 
be positively or negatively related to participation levels in other art forms. Our 
interest here was in ascertaining whether levels of participation in the arts were 
generalizable across art forms or whether there was evidence of substitution, with 
one art form appearing to substitute for another in a particular region or state. 

At the regional level, all of the participation rates are positively correlated 
with one another, whether they are for the eight key art forms or for the addi- 
tional three cultural activities; and many of these correlations are quite high. 
Thus, at the regional level, participation rates tend to parallel one another. 
High participation in one art form or cultural activity is an indicator of high 
participation in another. 



1 70 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



At the state level, however, a slightly different pattern emerged. While the 
correlation coefficients for the eight key art forms are, with one exception, pos- 
itive, they are not as strong as they are at the regional level. This is not too 
surprising because one would expect to observe more nuance and variation at 
the lower geographic aggregation. When this analysis is extended to other cul- 
tural activities, however, negative correlations appear with respect to attendance at 
historic parks or monuments and attendance at art or crafts fairs or festivals, sug- 
gesting that ar the state level there is some degree of substitution between 
participation in the eight key art forms and participation in these cultural activities. 

We then turned, in sections 7 and 8 of the monograph, to exploring more 
explicit possible explanations for the observed geographic variations in partici- 
pation rates. To begin to develop a sense of possible explanations for this 
geographic variation, two sets of independent variables were considered: ones 
that measure socio-economic characteristics of the area's population and ones 
that measure the presence of cultural organizations of various types. 

At the regional level, percentage of the adult population with a bachelor's 
degree is an excellent predictor of participation rates in all of the forms of art 
and culture considered here. Median household income is also a good predic- 
tor. Two indicators of relative urbanization — "percentage non-metropolitan" 
and "percentage rural" — are both strongly negatively correlated with participa- 
tion in each of the art forms, and, thus, they too are good predictors of variation 
in participation rates. Finally, the density of arts and cultural organizations per 
capita is strongly and positively correlated with participation rates when the 
institutional boundaries of the sectors for which the data had been collected are 
comparable. 

At the state level, percentage of the adult population with a bachelor's degree 
is also a good predictor. Population per square mile is a very good predictor for 
a number of art forms, and percentage non-metropolitan is a reasonably good 
predictor as well. The percentage of the population below the poverty level is 
negatively correlated with participation in seven of the eleven art forms and cul- 
tural activities. The density of arts and cultural organizations per square mile 
produces a number of very strong correlations. 

Section 9 explored whether responses to the SPPA suggest points of leverage 
or particular policy instruments that might be particularly important in increas- 
ing participation rates. Three sets of questions were explored: (1) questions 
concerning the respondent's interest in increased participation, (2) questions 
concerning perceived barriers to increased participation, and (3) questions con- 
cerning various socialization experiences that an individual had had that might 
affect later participation in the arts and culture. 



In Summary 171 



With respect to an interest in increased participation, nearly two-thirds of the 
American adult population would like to attend art museums and galleries more 
often. Over half the population would like to attend both musical plays and 
non-musical plays more often. There is less interest in increased participation 
in the other art forms. What is most important to notice, however, is that an 
interest in increased participation is expressed much more often by those who 
have attended a particular art form in the previous twelve months than by those 
who have not, and this is true irrespective of the state under consideration. 

Residents of California, New York and New Jersey report more interest in 
increased participation for all of the eight key art forms than do the residents of 
the United States on average. Because these three states generally turn up as 
high participation states in many of the analyses reported here, this might be 
due to a concentration of cultural institutions in these states, raising the popu- 
lation's expectations or the demand of a population that, socio-economically, is 
particularly inclined toward these forms of cultural consumption. Residents of 
Pennsylvania and Ohio, on the other hand, show less interest than average in 
increased participation. 

With respect to barriers to increased attendance, the most often cited barrier, 
cited by nearly two-thirds of those who would like to attend more often, is a 
broad one: "It is difficult to make time to go out." Roughly half of those who 
would like to attend more often cite "Tickets are too expensive," "There are not 
many performances held or art museums or galleries in my area," and "The 
location is usually not convenient." These reasons are more susceptible to pol- 
icy intervention. 

Finally, with respect to socialization, nearly half of American adults report 
having had lessons or classes in music at one time or another in their lives. 
Roughly one-quarter reports having taken lessons or a class in each of the fol- 
lowing: the visual arts, creative writing, art appreciation or art history, and 
music appreciation. Lower percentages have had acting or dance lessons. 
California, Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey have higher than average 
levels of socialization for all of the eight key art forms. Texas, on the other 
hand, has lower than average socialization levels. 

The last section of this monograph, Section 10, used the SPPA data to con- 
struct a wide range of demographic profiles of the audiences for various art 
forms, facilitating comparisons across art forms as well as across states. The 
analyses reported in this section considered four important demographic vari- 
ables: education level, income level, race/ethnicity, and gender. A careful 
distinction was drawn between an audience profile of visitors (separately iden- 



1 72 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



tifiable individuals making no adjustment for their relative frequency of atten- 
dance) and an audience profile of visits (adjusting for the fact that some visitors 
attend more frequently than others). 

As with all of the other results in this monograph, these results should be 
considered as beginning steps in the construction of a robust baseline of geo- 
graphic-based data on participation rates. 

Caveats 

At the risk of beating the point to death, in concluding this monograph it is nec- 
essary to repeat the cautions that have been mentioned repeatedly throughout. 

Because the SPPA data are the result of sampling, all of the estimates of par- 
ticipation rates in this monograph are subject to random sampling error. 
Because of that error many of the observed differences in participation rates 
may be attributable, at least in part, to random sampling error rather than to 
any real differences in participation rates. Only very large observed differences 
are likely to be immune from this complication. This issue has been discussed 
at some length in Section 2, but it obviously would affect the interpretation of 
the results in all of the other sections as well. 

To the extent that our analysis of why participation rates vary is built upon 
correlation coefficients calculated across a non-random sample of ten states, 
these results must be understood in a rather modest manner. Put simply, the 
results of these analyses cannot be generalized to all of the states. They simply 
measure the correlation that one observes when looking at various pairs of vari- 
ables across this particular set of ten states. 

These caveats notwithstanding, we repeat the statement that we made at the 
outset. It is our hope that with the analyses contained in these pages, we have 
begun a fruitful inquiry into the geographic variation in participation across the 
United States. Such information has a particularly valuable role to play as the 
focus of American cultural policy turns inevitably to the regional and state lev- 
els. A solid base of data will be required to develop that policy in a responsible 
and effective manner. 



173 



Notes 



1 The terminology used in this monograph differs slightly from the terminol- 
ogy used by the United States Bureau of the Census. The Bureau uses the word 
"region" to refer to four highly aggregated geographic areas of the United 
States: the West (thirteen states), the Midwest (twelve states), the South (sixteen 
states plus the District of Columbia), and the Northeast (nine states). The 
Bureau uses the word "division" to refer to the nine more disaggregated geo- 
graphic areas that are considered here. For the purposes of the current 
monograph this finer level of aggregation is more appropriate, but because the 
word "division" is less widely recognized, "region" is used in a generic sense to 
capture this level of geographic aggregation. 

2 What constitutes a "high" participation rate as compared to a "medium" 
or "low" participation rate depends, of course, on many subjective factors. 
Here the modifiers are used in a comparative, rather than in an absolute sense. 

3 Several participation questions were asked of subsamples. These questions 
are considered in later sections of this monograph. 

4 This narrower definition makes little actual difference. The overall partici- 
pation rate for reading a book is 663 percent, while the overall participation 
rate for reading literature is 63.1 percent. 

J The samples sizes for each state are summarized in the following table: 

Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, 1997: 
Sample Size by State 

State Sample Size 

California 2,574 

Florida 628 

Illinois 709 

Massachusetts 459 

Michigan 712 

New Jersey 490 

New York 782 

Ohio 460 

Pennsylvania 974 

Texas 81 8 

Source: 1 997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 

The sample size was considerably larger in California than in other states 
because extra resources were invested in sampling in California so that reliable 
estimates could be derived for various regions of the state. 



1 74 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



' This calculation of the random sampling error is the result of multiplying 
the standard error of the estimate, 0.798, by the number of standard errors 
included in a 95% confidence interval, 1.96. Note that the standard errors of 
the estimates were all calculated using the replicate weight method as suggested 
by Westat, the contractor who designed and conducted the 1997 Survey of 
Publication and the Arts. Calculations were made using WesVarPC software 
available from the, Westat web site, http://www.westat.com . 

" This is effectively what has been done in many of the monographs that have 
been written based on SPPA data over the years. Errors of the estimates have 
been overlooked. 

8 For another compilation of geographic variations in participation rates see, 
"Arts Participation by Region, State, and Metropolitan Area," Research Note 
#72, Research Division, Office of Policy Research and Analysis, National 
Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C., January 1999. 

9 In a monograph based on data from the 1992 Survey of Public Participation 
in the arts, Charles Gray concluded, "The statistics related to cross-participa- 
tion in the arts via media alternatives and live attendance indicate that those 
who shunned live attendance also shunned media participation and vice versa; 
but very often, a majority of those who participated by media did not attend 
live performances or showings. A more positive slant is that respondents who 
did not attend live performances or showings did participate by media. This fur- 
ther suggests that the media constitute a more-or-less readily available 
alternative to live attendance." Charles M. Gray, Turning On and Tuning In: 
Media Participation in the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Research 
Division Report #33 (Carson, California: Seven Locks Press, 1995), p. 78. This 
monograph took individuals as its unit of analysis, while the current one takes 
various geographic areas as its unit of analysis, an important distinction that 
could lead to differing interpretations of the role of the media in participation. 

10 Each correlation coefficient in this table is calculated in the following man- 
ner: first, the point estimates of the participation rates in each art form are 
calculated for each of the nine regions; then, two art forms are selected and the 
nine pairs of participation rates are used to calculate the correlation coefficient 
between these participation rates across the nine regions. 

11 Each correlation coefficient in this table is calculated in the following man- 
ner: first, the point estimates of the participation rates in each art form are 
calculated for each of the ten states; then, two art forms are selected and the ten 
pairs of participation rates are used to calculate the correlation coefficient 
between these participation rates across the ten states. 



Notes 175 



12 Note that each correlation coefficient actually appears twice in this table, 
as it is symmetric around its major diagonal. 

13 The analysis in Sections 7 and 8 shares many similarities with the analysis 
I used in an earlier monograph, though the purpose of the monograph was 
rather different: to try and explain geographic variations in the support for arts 
and culture. J. Mark Davidson Schuster, "An Inquiry into the Geographic 
Correlates of Government Arts Funding," research monograph prepared for the 
Research Division, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C., 
March 1988, published in an edited version as "Correlates of State Arts 
Support: The Geographic Distribution of Organizations, Artists, and 
Participation," in David B. Pankratz and Valerie B. Morris, eds. The Future of 
the Arts: Public Policy and Arts Research (New York: Praeger, 1990). 

14 The authors of other monographs in this series whose unit of analysis is the 
individual respondent will be able to explore these questions in the context of a 
multivariate model. 

15 Once can debate the year for which the independent variables should be 
measured. If one is asked in 1997 to remember one's participation in the arts 
and culture in the previous twelve months, one is likely remembering 1996 
behavior. From this perspective, the various demographic variables should be 
measured for 1996. On the other hand, only the state in which the respondent 
resided in 1997 is known, not the state in which he or she resided in 1996, and 
cultural behavior should be like the cultural behavior of those who live in close 
proximity. From this perspective, it seems reasonable to use 1997 data. As the 
analysis of these other variables involves only the calculation of correlation 
coefficients, order is more important than absolute value, so the difference in 
basing the calculations on one year rather than the other is likely to be slight. 

16 This result is repeated in many of the research monographs commissioned 
by the National Endowment for the Arts and based on the various SPPA stud- 
ies. See, for example, J. Mark Davidson Schuster, The Audience for American 
Art Museums, National Endowment for the Arts, Research Division Report #23 
(Cabin John, Maryland: Seven Locks Press, 1991). Consult NEA's web site for 
a list of publications: http://arts.endow.gov/pub/ResearchReports.html . 

17 Once again, this result can be found in any of the research monographs 
commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts and based on the vari- 
ous SPPA studies. Consult: http://arts.endow.gov/pub/ResearchReports.html . 

18 The SPPA question concerning race asked each respondent to select one of 
five racial categories: "Hispanic," "White, but not of Hispanic origin," "Black, 
but not of Hispanic origin," "American Indian or Alaskan Native," or " "Asian 



1 76 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



or Pacific Islander." 

19 A metropolitan area consists of the county in which a central city is 
located, plus any adjacent counties with close ties to this core county. To qual- 
ity as a metropolitan area, the area must contain either: (1) a city with a 
minimum population of 50,000 or (2) a Census Bureau-defined Urbanized Area 
and a total metropolitan area population of at least 100,000 (75,000 in New 
England). 

20 This question has been most directly addressed in Schuster, "Correlates of 
State Arts Support: The Geographic Distribution of Organizations, Artists, and 
Participation." The question of determinants of state arts funding is also taken 
up by Richard I. Hofferbert and John K. Urice, "Small-Scale Policy: The Federal 
Stimulus versus Competing Explanations for State Funding for the Arts," 
American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 29, 1985, pp. 308-329; Dick Netzer, 
"Cultural Policy in an Era of Budgetary Stringency and Fiscal Decentralization: 
The U. S. Experience," in Ruth Towse and Abdul Khakee, eds. Cultural 
Economics (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1992); and Dore Abrams, Farra Bracht, 
and Martha Prinz, "Determinants of State Government Funding of the Arts in 
the United States," unpublished paper presented at the Ninth International 
Conference on Cultural Economics, Boston, Massachusetts, May 9, 1996. 

21 Eventually, data from the 1997 Census of Service Industries will become 
available, and they would clearly be preferable in the current analysis. 
Unfortunately, they were not yet available at the necessary level of disaggrega- 
tion while the current monograph was being written. For a further description 
of the use of the 1992 Census of Service Industries to document the geographic 
distribution of performing arts organizations see "The Performing Arts Spread 
Out: Geography of Performing Arts Organizations, 1992," Research Note #63, 
Research Division, Office of Policy Research and Analysis, National 
Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C., March 1998. 

22 In the case of correlating participation in jazz with the density of nonprofit 
other music groups and artists, the correlation coefficient switches from a neg- 
ative number with a higher absolute value to a positive number with a lower 
absolute value. In one sense, this means that density per square mile is a weaker 
predictor, but it is not in the expected direction, which can be interpreted as 
another form of a "stronger" predictor. 

23 The form of these questions, which may be important to the interpretation 
of the responses, was the following: 

"Now I am going to read a list of events that some people like 
to attend. If you could go to any of these events as often as 
you wanted, which ones would you go to more often than you 



Notes I 177 



do now? How about... 

Jazz music performances 

Classical music performances [etc.]" 

24 Both the 1997 and the 1992 SPPA surveys asked respondents to report an 
exact frequency. Earlier versions of SPPA had asked respondents to indicate the 
ranges within which their frequency of attendance fell. This offered a much less 
precise way of moving back and forth between an analysis based on visitors and 
one based on visits than is offered by the more recent versions. 

Even so, there is considerable debate among survey researchers as to how 
reliable these responses are as estimates of frequency of attendance. Do respon- 
dents remember more recent attendance more clearly than attendance some 
time ago and base their estimates over the whole period on the most recent 
period? Or do respondents attribute behavior that occurred long ago to the pre- 
vious twelve months? These debates, while of interest in estimating the overall 
volume of visits, are of less interest in the current analysis as the demographic pro- 
files of audiences rely on relative proportions within each demographic category 
rather than the absolute number. If one feels comfortable with assuming that the 
factors that lead to bias in an individual's estimates of the frequency of her or her 
attendance are distributed in the same way across the demographic categories 
under consideration, then this bias will not affect the current analysis. 

There is a second factor that may be of somewhat greater concern in the cur- 
rent analysis. Some respondents to the SPPA have reported what might be 
interpreted as unusually high frequencies of attendance to various art forms. 
One respondent, for example, reports having gone to 156 live dance perform- 
ances in the previous twelve months; another reports having gone to an art 
museum or gallery 400 times. How to handle these high frequencies occasioned 
quite a bit of e-mail discussion among the researchers writing monographs 
based on the 1997 SPPA data. Some suggested simply deleting cases that 
reported frequencies over some arbitrary level. Others suggested investigating 
the individual respondent more fully to see if one could establish the reason- 
ableness of that frequency based on some other information reported by the 
respondent. One suggested taking the logarithm or natural logarithm of all of 
the frequencies, calculating the weighted mean log frequency for all cases in a 
given demographic group, and then multiplying the total of the weights for 
these cases by the anti-log of the mean. This would have normalized the distri- 
bution and reduced the impact of extreme cases. Yet another researcher pointed 
out that it was quite possible that the survey had picked up a professional in one 
or another of these art forms who did, in fact, have such a high frequency of 



1 78 I The Geography of Participation in the Arts and Culture 



attendance. In the end, we ran a few analyses omitting cases with unusually high 
frequencies of attendance and convinced ourselves that they did not have suffi- 
cient effect on the final demographic profiles to justify either deleting or 
handling them in one of the other proposed ways. 

In the course of these e-mail conversations, Alan Brown of Audience Insight 
pointed out another interesting mathematical attribute of the respondent 
reported frequencies: when the frequency exceeds 5 or 6 times per year, the fre- 
quencies that respondents report cluster around time increments (e.g. 12, 24, 
52) or multiples of five, reflecting the mental models that respondents use to 
estimate these frequencies. 

25 The choice of a categorization scheme for the education variable also occa- 
sioned a considerable amount of e-mail. The variable included in the SPPA 
questionnaire actually had thirteen categories, a level of detailed not necessary 
in the current analysis and not justified because of the small sample sizes that 
would result in so many of these categories. Among the monograph authors 
there are three conceptual models as to how to aggregate this variable. One 
would maintain all of the detail of the original variable, building it into any 
analysis through an appropriate number of dummy variables. Another would 
look at similarities in participation rates across values of the education variable 
and group together those adjacent categories whose participation rates are more 
or less similar. The third would try to achieve some economy of presentation 
when finally presenting crosstabulations and other analyses to the audience of 
the monograph. This latter approach would require a small number of easily 
understandable and communicable categories. 

In this monograph, the third approach was adopted and implemented 
with the following scheme: 

Category 1 includes those who list for their highest grade/year of 

school 7 th grade or less, 8 th grade, 9 th to 11 th grade, 12 th 

grade but no diploma = Less Than High School. 

Category 2 includes those who list for their highest grade/year of 
school a high school diploma or the equivalent = High School 
Graduate. 

Category 3 includes those who list for their highest grade/year of 
school a vocational or technical program after high school, some 
college but no degree, or an associate's degree = Some College. 

Category 4 includes those who list for their highest grade/year of 
school a bachelor's degree or attendance at graduate or profes- 



Notes 179 



sional school without a degree = Bachelor's Degree. 

Category 5 includes those who list for their highest grade/year of 
school a master's degree, a doctorate, or a professional degree 
(medicine, dentistry, law) = Graduate Degree. 

Others have adopted this approach as well, but have used slightly different 
categories. This means, of course, that the various categorization schemes are 
not consistent across the various SPPA monographs, complicating the compar- 
ative interpretation of their results. 



180 



Bibliography 



Abrams, Dore; Farra Bracht; and Martha Prinz. (1996). "Determinants of State 
Government Funding of the Arts in the United States." Unpublished 
paper presented at the Ninth International Conference on Cultural 
Economics^ Boston, Massachusetts, May 9, 1996. 

Gray, Charles M. (1995). Turning On and Tuning In: Media Participation in the 
Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Research Division Report #33. 
Carson, California: Seven Locks Press. 

Hofferbert, Richard I. and John K. Urice. (1985). "Small-Scale Policy: The 
Federal Stimulus versus Competing Explanations for State Funding for 
the Arts." American Journal of Political Science, 29: 308-329. 

National Endowment for the Arts. (1998). 2997 Survey of Public Participation 
in the Arts: Summary Report. Research Division Report #39. 
Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts. 

National Endowment for the Arts. (1998). "The Performing Arts Spread Out: 
Geography of Performing Arts Organizations, 1992." Research Note 
#63, Research Division, Office of Policy Research and Analysis. 
Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts. 

National Endowment for the Arts. (1999). "Arts Participation by Region, State, 
and Metropolitan Area," Research Note #72, Research Division, Office 
of Policy Research and Analysis. Washington, D.C.: National 
Endowment for the Arts. 

Netzer, Dick. (1992). "Cultural Policy in an Era of Budgetary Stringency and 
Fiscal Decentralization: The U. S. Experience." In Cultural Economics. 
Ruth Towse and Abdul Khakee, eds. Berlin: Springer- Verlag. 

Schuster, J. Mark Davidson. (1991). The Audience for American Art Museums. 
National Endowment for the Arts, Research Division Report #23. 
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Schuster, J. Mark Davidson. (1988). "An Inquiry into the Geographic 
Correlates of Government Arts Funding." Research monograph pre- 
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Davidson. (1990). "Correlates of State Arts Support: The Geographic 
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181 



About the Author 



J. Mark Schuster is Professor of Urban Cultural Policy in the Department of 
Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 
Cambridge, Massachusetts. Professor Schuster is a public policy analyst who 
specializes in the analysis of government policies and programs with respect to 
the arts, culture, and urban design. He is the author of numerous books, arti- 
cles, and reports including: Preserving the Built Heritage: Tools for 
Implementation (University Press of New England) [with John de Monchaux 
and Charles Riley], Patrons Despite Themselves: Taxpayers and Arts Policy 
(New York University Press) [with Michael O'Hare and Alan Feld], Supporting 
the Arts: An International Comparative Study (National Endowment for the 
Arts), Who's to Pay for the Arts? The International Search for Models of Arts 
Support (American Council for the Arts) [with Milton Cummings], and The 
Audience for American Art Museums (Seven Locks Press). He is currently the 
Director of the Northeast Mayors' Institute on City Design. 

Professor Schuster has served as a consultant to the Arts Council of Great 
Britain, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Capital Planning 
Commission, the Canada Council, Communications Canada, the British 
American Arts Association, the London Arts Board, the British Museum, the 
Council of Europe, National Public Radio, American Council for the Arts, Arts 
International, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, and the 
Massachusetts Commission to Study Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts, 
among others. He has spoken at numerous international conferences on sub- 
jects ranging from the use of matching grants, tax incentives, and dedicated 
state lotteries to fund the arts to the economic and political justifications for 
government support for the arts and the role of the arts in urban development. 
Professor Schuster is Joint Editor of the Journal of Cultural Economics and a 
member of the editorial boards of the journal of Planning Education and 
Research and the International Journal of Cultural Policy. He also is the chair- 
man of the International Alliance of First Night Celebrations.