NEA Releases new WolfBrown monograph

Yesterday, the National Endowment for the Arts released three new research monographs, including WolfBrown's Beyond Attendance: A Multi-Modal Understanding of Arts Participation, by Jennifer L. Novak-Leonard and Alan S. Brown. We are excited to share this just-released study with clients and friends.

As funding for arts programs becomes tighter, difficult decisions are being made about how to invest public dollars in the arts, making the need for thoughtful, comprehensive analysis of participation and impact ever more important.

In Beyond Attendance, Jennifer and Alan investigate data from the NEA's Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) to explore the relationships between three primary modes of arts participation:

1. arts attendance,
2. personal creation and performance, and
3. arts participation through electronic media.

The monograph challenges the convention of using attendance rates to represent overall arts participation, and argues that a broader understanding of arts participation is needed to inform arts practice and policy.

We would like to extend special thanks to the staff of the NEA's Office of Research and Analysis for encouraging us to contextualize the SPPA data in light of the broader cultural ecology, and to think critically about what “arts participation” really means.