What Americans Say About the Arts

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Provided by AmericansForTheArts.org

Americans are highly engaged in the arts and believe more strongly than ever that the arts promote personal well-being, help us understand other cultures in our community, are essential to a well-rounded K-12 education, and that government has an important role in funding the arts.

  1. “The arts provide meaning to our lives.” 69% of Americans believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” 73% feel the arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in,” and 81% say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”
  2. “The arts unify our communities.” The personal benefits of the arts extend beyond the individual to the community. 72% believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity” and 73% agree that the arts “helps me understand other cultures better.”
  3. “Most of us seek out arts experiences.” Nearly three-quarters of the adult population (72%) attended an arts or culture event during the previous year, such as the theater, museum, zoo, or a musical performance.
  4. “We experience the arts in unexpected places.” Americans also enjoy the arts in “non-traditional” venues, such as a symphony in the park, a performance in an airport, or exhibitions in a hospital or shopping mall (70%).
  5. “There is near universal support for arts education.” 91% agree that the arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education. Over 90% say students should receive an education in the arts in elementary school, middle school, and high school. 89% say the arts should also be taught outside of the classroom in the community.
  6. “We support government arts funding at all levels.” Most Americans approve of arts funding by local government (60%), state government (58%), federal government (54%), and by the National Endowment for the Arts (64%).
  7. “We will vote for candidates who increase arts funding.” 53% support increasing federal government spending on nonprofit arts organizations (vs. 22% against). Americans are twice as likely to vote for a candidate who increases federal arts spending from 45 cents to $1 per person than against (37% vs. 18%).
  8. “We make art in our personal time.” Half of all Americans are personally involved in art-making activities such as painting, singing in a choir, making crafts, writing poetry, or playing music (47%).
  9. “Creativity boosts job success.” 55% of employed adults say their job requires them to “be creative and come up with ideas that are new and unique.” An even greater proportion (60%) say that the more creative and innovative they are at their job, the more successful they are in the workplace.
  10. “Cultural institutions add value to our community.” Whether people engage with the arts or not, 90% believe cultural facilities (theaters, museums, sculpture parks, neighborhood arts centers) improve quality of life, and 86% believe cultural facilities are important to local business and the economy.
  11. “We donate to the arts.” 24% of the population donated to an arts, culture, or public broadcasting organization in the previous year. Donors were typically younger and had higher incomes and education.
  12. “Not everyone in my community has equal access to the arts.” Despite the many benefits that the arts bring to individuals and communities, just 50% believe that “everyone in their community has equal access to the arts.”

Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for Americans for the Arts in 2018, is based on a nationally representative sample of 3,023 adults.