Reports

The Values Study: Rediscovering the Meaning and Value of Arts Participation

WolfBrown, Capacity Interactive

July 2004

Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, Arts Division

Made possible by The Wallace Foundation’s State Arts Partnerships for Cultural Participation (START) Program

Alan Brown

The Values Study was an organic, participatory learning experience for teams of board and staff members representing 20 Connecticut arts organizations. During the autumn of 2003, each team conducted five individual depth interviews with randomly-recruited program participants, and synthesized what they learned through a step by step process that culminated in a statewide meeting on November 17, 2003.

The process was designed to juxtapose existing programs with consumer values, and sparked a statewide discussion about mission, relevance and public value. Participants acquired interviewing skills and learned the benefits and challenges of qualitative research. Many ideas for innovative programs and projects spun out of this dialogue, several of which were funded through a follow-up grant program from July 2004 to December 2005. The study’s most important outcome is not this report, but a new level of understand- ing of the complexity of arts participation in Connecticut, and new frameworks for thinking about how consumers engage in and benefit from arts activities.

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