How do you take your art?

Earlier this fall, we conducted an online survey on arts participation in greater New Haven. More than 300 individuals responded. Not surprisingly, many of the respondents are arts mavens, individuals who self- identified as arts supporters (51%), artists (36%), and arts professionals (26%).

Some highlights of the findings:

Over 90% of respondents rate the New Haven region as either a good or excellent place to live. 96% believe that New Haven has a vibrant arts and culture scene and 98% think that arts and cultural activities make New Haven a better place to live and work.

When asked about the types of arts activities they participated in within the past year
77% attended an art exhibit
75% attended a live musical concert
70% attended a live theater performance

Arts education is valued by this group of people. Those respondents who are parents, responded that their children have taken courses in music (62%), visual art (51%), and dance (45%).

When asked about a recent arts event that made a significant impression on them, the responses covered a wide range of experiences—Van Gogh at Yale Art Gallery, Long Wharf’s production of The Bluest Eye, courtyard concerts at the International Festival, jazz at Firehouse 12, Passion Play at Yale Rep, the Westville Art Walk, even our own Arts Awards luncheon. While most responses were from an audience perspective, some people mentioned learning experiences—Flamenco lessons, a sculpture class at CAW. Others noted the experience as participant, such as singing the Brahm’s Requiem as part of a large choral ensemble.

New Haven is perceived as a good place for artists. 95% responded that there’s an active artist community here. 87% indicated that New Haven is supportive of artists.

We also asked about what’s lacking in the arts in New Haven. Among the most frequently mentioned missing assets were more venues for live music, particularly blues and jazz; the need for more commercial galleries; and contemporary dance. Several individuals lamented the loss of the New Haven Film Festival.

And finally, why don’t folks participate in more arts activities? Lack of time (75%) and money (44%) were the main reasons.


Arts in Transition

The presidential election has finally come to a close, but many are wondering what the election of Barack Obama will mean for the arts. Many arts and culture leaders got excited during the campaign, as Obama released a relatively detailed arts policy statement. To view the statement, click here.

But now with inauguration day drawing near, arts leaders want to make sure that the Obama administration doesn't forget about its promise to make arts, culture and the creative economy a priority. With that in mind, 16 arts service organizations recently submitted a detailed list of arts policy recommendations to the Office of Presidential Transition. To view the policy brief (and to see which organizations sent it), click here.

For another interesting take on what an Obama presidency might mean for the arts, check out this blog posting by Ian Moss.

And let us know what you think. What does a new Obama administration mean for the arts? What ideas/policies would you like to do instituted or changed?