State of the Arts: Behind the NEA Survey

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All the people clamoring to get into Broadway shows like "Wicked" and "The Book of Mormon" – or museum shows like the Rain Room at MoMa – are apparently the exception, rather than the rule. That's the conclusion of a new survey of public participation released last week by the National Endowment for the Arts. It shows an overall decline in arts consumption by Americans, with a particular drop-off in museum and theater attendance. There were smaller dips in classical music and ballet audiences too. But it wasn't all gloom and doom: Audiences are growing more racially and ethnically diverse.  And there are hints that technology is playing a larger role in how we consume culture.

On Oct. 3, Conducting Business brought a group of prominent arts leaders to The Greene Space to explore these recent findings and their implications. Joining us were Oskar Eustis, artistic director of New York’s Public Theater; Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater; Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras; Anne Midgette, classical music critic of the Washington Post, and Graham Parker, general manager of WQXR. Naomi Lewin hosted the event, of which the archived video is below.


What do you think is behind the decline in audiences? What can arts organizations do to attract new patrons? Please leave your comments in the box at the bottom of this page, or Tweet us at @WQXR.

Below are three salient findings from the NEA's Survey of Public Participation in the Arts:

Please leave your questions in the comments box below, or Tweet us at @WQXR #NEASPPA.