Press Release

Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance Study Finds Increased Arts Participation in the Region

  • May 19, 2011

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The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance has released the results of the second Cultural Engagement Index (CEI) survey, which finds an 11% increase in cultural engagement since the last survey in 2008. Overall CEI scores went up in 8 of the 9 components surveyed. The exception was the consumption of popular media, which remained flat. Particularly high CEI scores were seen for younger respondents (18-34), families with children; African-American and Hispanic respondents; and those active in theater, visual arts and online creative activities.

“Clearly residents care deeply about arts and culture,” said Tom Kaiden, President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “During tough times, we reevaluate what matters most. Culture provides us with the insight and creative outlet to envision a better future.”

Unlike other studies of arts participation, the CEI surveys the general population of Greater Philadelphia, not just current arts attendees. The CEI score factors in both frequency of participation and the importance of the activity to the respondent. Overall, frequency was stable for most activities from 2008 to 2010 but the importance that respondents attach to some cultural activities increased significantly, helping to drive the index from 100 in 2008 (the baseline year) to 111 in 2010. Over 3,000 residents in 220 zip codes in Greater Philadelphia completed the survey, answering detailed questions on 52 different creative activities.

The CEI asks questions about audience-based attendance in traditional cultural activities (including attendance at live performing arts, museums, and community events), as well as questions about personal practice activities (including creating music or dance, painting or drawing, writing in journals or blogs, and sharing photos, music or videos online).

This year's results provide additional insight on the different patterns of cultural engagement between subsets of survey respondents, based on factors such as age, lifestyle groups, race and education. For example, engagement was highest for Hispanic and younger audiences 18-34, and both groups also had the highest scores for personal creative practice such as composing music, dancing, and taking photography.

Read More on the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance's Web site