Art Works Blog

Taking Note

Several years ago, we began working with the Bureau of Economic Analysis to capture the economic value of arts and cultural industries in the U.S. In doing so, we foresaw that the long-term benefit of the enterprise would be diagnostic. Like others, we and our colleagues were startled by the share...
One of my few misgivings as a government researcher tasked with studying the “value and impact” of the arts is that questions of quality are often omitted. Many of the research findings we amass and present to the public are in the shape of statistics. And why not? We can measure how many (and what...
There may be no higher tribute to the role of working artists in the public imagination than a term that has awakened the interest of labor analysts over the last few years: gig economy. The description is no longer limited to itinerant entertainers; it includes a reportedly growing segment of the...
I frequently make trips between my home in the Bay Area and the East Coast. During a recent trip to New York I spent a morning walking with a friend along the High Line—an elevated freight rail line that was transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. The High Line displays a wide...
When collecting and reporting stats about the arts or about anything else, it’s frequently necessary to run what researchers call a “validity check.” There are many ways of doing this. First, one hopes that the survey instrument—the questions being asked—and the sampling strategy itself have been...
The NEA’s Research: Art Works grants program supports research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts for individuals and communities. The application deadline for the 2017 grant round is October 11, 2016 . Last month, we released the 2017 application guidelines for the program...
Recently, a New York Times opinion article cited statistics from the NEA’s Survey of Public Participation of the Arts . The article (“ How the Rich Are Hurting the Museums They Fund ,” July 22, 2016) noted that between 2002 and 2012, “adult attendance at art museums and galleries declined, by as...
In the latest issue of NEA Arts magazine, there appears an interview I did with Leon Wieseltier, the current Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow of Culture and Policy at the Brookings Institution, and former literary editor of The New Republic . The title of that interview— On (Not) Measuring Arts and...
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education released results from its National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP, or “The Nation’s Report Card”) study of 8th-graders’ technology-and-engineering literacy skills . How is this study relevant to arts research? Let me count the ways. 1) As with...
For a while in the mid-90s, I shared a house with a group of strangers who rapidly became friends. We lived in a Queen Anne-style oddity in the Dupont Circle area of Washington. A couple of years out of college, I worked most days at a nearby nonprofit called TV-Free America (“TVFA”), whose mission...

Pages