Art Works Blog

U.S. Trends in Arts Attendance: A Quiz!

We’re talking arts attendance today with the release of our latest research publication, U.S. Trends in Arts Attendance and Literary Reading: 2002-2017. This is a first look at results from the 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) (except for poetry which we posted about here in June). The new U.S. Trends report covers shifting patterns of arts attendance and literary reading as measured by the share of Americans aged 18 years and older who reported doing any of these activities at least once in a year. Learn more about the report here.

Check out our Arts Attendance interactive infographic, and then try your hand at these six questions—and one bonus question—based on the infographic. Ready? Here we go!

Q. Among the three types of literary reading that the SPPA tracks, which experienced the biggest bump in 2017: reading a novel/short story, reading poetry, or reading a play?

A. Reading poetry. Poetry-reading saw a huge increase from 6.7% of the U.S. adult population to 11.7% in 2017. That comes out to a rate of change of 76% over five years.

Q. Which form of theater saw the greater attendance numbers, musicals or non-musical plays?

A. Musicals. Musicals are the second most popular performing arts activity that the SPPA tracks. 16.5% of the population attended a musical in 2017. That’s 40.2 million people!

Q. When you travel, if you like to visit parks, museums, buildings, or neighborhoods that have historic or design value, then you are a cultural tourist. What percentage of the adult population in 2017 were also cultural tourists?

A. 28.3% or 68.3 million of us were cultural tourists. 

Q. In addition to classical and jazz music, what other musical form does the SPPA track?

A. Latin, Spanish or salsa music. 14.3 million adults enjoyed this type of music in 2017!

Q. What percentage of U.S. adults went out to see a movie? (Remember, this number doesn't include watching a movie at home.)

A. 58.6% of Americans got off the couch and went to the movies. That percentage is down slightly from 2012, the last year of reporting.

Q. While they both make great arts dates, do you think more people attend outdoor performing arts festivals or visit art museums or galleries?

A. It’s very close. 24.2% of U.S. adults or 58.5 million of us went to festivals while 23.7% of U.S. adults or 57.5 million of us visited an art museum or gallery.

BONUS Q: What percentage of U.S. adults attended a performing arts event or visited a visual arts space in 2017? (Hint: You'll have to poke around arts.gov to find this answer!)

A. 132.3 million people of American adults attended a performing arts event or visited a visual arts space, representing nearly 54% of the U.S. adult population. 

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