Jacqueline Trescott, Washington Post, Thursday, January 21, 2010; C02
While the number of arts organizations increased rapidly over a recent 10-year span, the percentage of people attending arts events declined, a new national survey by the nonprofit group Americans for the Arts reported Wednesday.
This issue of supply and demand in the arts world is a troubling one, said the authors of the National Arts Index, because many groups have financial troubles and people of all ages are discovering new ways to experience the arts, including the Internet.
"Audience demand has failed to keep pace" with this boom in opportunities for arts participation, said Randy Cohen, the vice president for local arts advancement at the Americans for the Arts. "There is a new arts organization created every three hours."
Straitened financial circumstances and audience drift are issues that have been festering for years, and the recent recession didn't help. The analysts behind the index hope their data -- taken between 1998 and 2008 -- will clarify the predicament the arts find themselves in and provide a roadmap for new artistic and business models. "This first-ever annual measure confirms observations we have had for years," said Robert L. Lynch, the group's president and chief executive. Read more