National Survey on Arts Engagement

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently released preliminary findings from its national survey on Americans’ engagement level with the arts. The study, Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA), looks at how adults (18 years and older) in America engage with the arts by looking at five categories: attending, reading, learning, making/sharing art, and consuming art via electronic media. The survey population included a randomly selected sample representative of the broader American adult population. The NEA usually works with the Census Bureau on the survey and this year’s sample population was doubled to gain further insights and highlight potential new areas of arts engagement among American adults.


The preliminary results from the survey revealed some interesting information, especially in engagement among American adults in arts education. At least 59% of college graduates reported having taken some form of arts-based education compared to 32% of high school graduates. Furthermore, respondents differed across the arts based classes they took as students: 36% reported taking voice training or playing an instrument, 19% in visual arts and 18% reported taking art history or art appreciation. The full results of the survey will be released next year.