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NEA Survey Finds 7% Drop in Movie Attendance Since 2002



This is a regular survey done by the National Endowment for Obama that measures public participation in all areas of the arts. We hear a lot about Hollywood’s “record-breaking years” and will again this year, but the overall trend line for film attendance is headed only one way and an increase in ticket prices and a few monster hits each season like “Dark Knight” and “Transformers” are usually the difference between a record year and panic:

A new study from the National Endowment for the Arts finds a notable decline in theater, museum and concert attendance and other “benchmark” cultural activities between 2002 and 2008 for adults 18 and older, and a sharper fall from 25 years ago. The drop was for virtually all art forms and for virtually all age groups and levels of education.

The NEA’s senior deputy chair, Joan Shigekawa, listed a few possible reasons: The rise of the Internet; less free time; and cuts in arts classes.

“These numbers definitely represent a challenge,” Shigekawa said.

Released Thursday, the NEA’s 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts is the sixth such report to come out since 1982, when 39 percent of adults attended a “benchmark arts activity” at least once in the previous year. The percentage peaked at 41 percent in 1992, just as the Internet was taking off, and dropped to 34.6 percent in 2008.

Between 2002 and 2008, percentages fell for moviegoing from 60 to 53.3, for jazz from 10.8 to 7.8, for museums/galleries from 26.5 to 22.7. Other categories with lower attendance include ballet, opera, musical and nonmusical theater, and art/crafts fairs and festivals.

Yeah, “cuts in art classes” is why movie attendance is down. Good heavens, these people are stupid out of touch.

As with all things NEA and AP, both the study and the article blame everything but the growing disconnect between artists and their customers, not to mention the diminishing quality of the product.

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