Cultivating Demand for the Arts

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 Cultivating Demand for the Arts

Recent reports and commentaries point to a growing gap between the quantity of artworks produced by American artists and arts organizations and the desire and ability of many Americans to experience those artworks. This report offers a framework for thinking about supply and demand in the arts and suggests that too little attention has been paid to cultivating demand. It identifies the roles of different factors, particularly arts learning, in stimulating interest in the arts and enriching individuals’ experiences of artworks. It also describes the institutional infrastructure that provides arts learning for Americans of all ages.

This is the third in a series of documents describing a multiyear study of the changing roles and missions of state arts agencies (SAAs). The two earlier RAND reports—Julia F. Lowell, State Arts Agencies 1965–2003: Whose Interests to Serve? MG-121-WF, 2004; and Julia F. Lowell and Elizabeth H. Ondaatje, The Arts and State Governments: At Arm’s Length or Arm in Arm? MG-359-WF, 2006—document shifts in thinking about, respectively, the purposes of public funding for the arts and how closely SAAs should be working with elected officials and other state agencies. This third report is intended to help SAAs better understand how to cultivate long-term involvement in the arts and policies that will best support that objective in their states. Besides SAAs, our intended audience is a broad range of policymakers in both the arts and education, as well as arts professionals, arts educators, community leaders, and members of the public who care about increasing the number of Americans who engage with the arts.

This report was produced within RAND Education, a research unit within the RAND Corporation. The research was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation as part of its State Arts Partnerships for Cultural Participation (START) initiative, a program designed to help SAAs develop more-effective strategies for increasing arts participation in their states. The Wallace Foundation supports the development of knowledge from multiple sources and differing perspectives.

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