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How Do People Find Out About Arts Events in Their Communities?

Sources of Information About Local Arts Events

In all communities, and across all demographic groups, more people find out about local arts events through newspapers than from any other source, according to the 1992 Local Area Arts Participation Study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts (National Endowment for the Arts. [1993]. "Summary Report: 12 Local Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts." Research Division Report no. 26). People were three times as likely to cite newspapers (74%) as a source of information about local arts events as they were to cite television (26%), the second-ranked information source. One person in five (20%) said they found out about arts events in their community through the radio. A fourth medium, magazines, was infrequently mentioned as a source of information about local arts events (4%).

Less than one person in five said they learned about local arts events through "word of mouth" (17%) or from "mailed announcements, flyers, and brochures" (16%). Just one person in ten (9%) mentioned "posters or notices in public areas," while one in twenty (5%) mentioned "school notices." Less than one percent said that they learned of local arts events through "telemarketing or telephone solicitation."

Bar graph: Sources of Information about Arts Events - 1992(Summary Report 12 Local Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts)

Use of Information Sources in Different Communities

In all twelve communities studied in the 1992 Local Area Arts Participation Study, newspapers were the number one source of information about local arts events by a wide margin over television and other sources. Reliance on newspapers ranged from a low of 63% in Dade County, Florida to a high of 80% in Broward County, Florida.

Sources of Information about Arts Events - 1992
By Community
How do you learn or find out about arts events in your community?
(Multiple responses allowed)
Community Media Sources Word of Mouth Mailings, Flyers, Brochures
Newspapers Television Radio Magazines
All Respondents 74% 26% 20% 4% 17% 16%
Broward County, FL 80% 33% 18% 1% 16% 15%
Chicago, IL 77% 22% 18% 4% 17% 16%
Dade County, FL 63% 32% 24% 2% 11% 12%
Las Vegas, NV 64% 40% 24% 2% 14% 15%
Philadelphia, PA 76% 23% 19% 5% 19% 16%
Pittsburgh, PA 73% 36% 18% 8% 20% 13%
Reno, NV 72% 40% 29% 3% 16% 13%
Rural Nevada 71% 24% 28% 2% 11% 13%
San Jose, CA 74% 19% 18% 3% 14% 19%
Seattle, WA 74% 23% 23% 4% 21% 22%
Sedona, AZ 77% 6% 21% 1% 28% 15%
Winston-Salem, NC 64% 35% 26% 1% 11% 14%
Source: Summary Report: 12 Local Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts
(Washington DC: National Endowment for the Arts, 1993)
© Princeton University 2003 | www.cpanda.org

Television was the second most-cited medium as a source of information about local arts events in all communities studied except one -- Sedona, AZ, where it was hardly a factor at all (in 1992). Just 6% of Sedona residents said they found out about local arts events through television, far behind other sources such as "word of mouth" (28%), radio (21%), and "mailed announcements, flyers, and brochures" (15%).

Television was relied upon fairly heavily in Las Vegas (40%), Reno (40%), Pittsburgh (36%), and Winston-Salem (35%). The average rate of reliance upon television across all twelve communities was 26%. The relatively heavy reliance upon television in these four communities appears to be more than just a function of local demographics in these markets. Among major demographic groups, the highest rate of television-reliance for information about local arts events was 37% for African Americans, who made up no more than 20% of the population in any of these communities at the time of the survey. (In no other major demographic group did more than 30% of the respondents say they learned about local arts events through television.)

Radio was the third most-cited source of information about local arts events in most communities, although it was surpassed or tied as a source of information by "word of mouth" in three communities (Sedona, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia), and by "mailed announcements, flyers, and brochures" in one community (San Jose). Radio was only narrowly ahead of "word of mouth" in two other communities (Chicago, IL and Broward County, FL).

"Word of mouth" appears to have been especially effective in Sedona, AZ as a source of information about local arts events -- 28% of Sedona residents said they found out about local arts events by "word of mouth," compared to an average of 17% for residents across all 12 communities. Two factors that may have contributed to this result are Sedona's small population (15,500 in 1990) and its relatively high concentration of visual artists and arts galleries. "Word of mouth" was not a significant source of information about local arts events, however, in three communities -- rural Nevada, Winston-Salem, and Dade County -- where just 11% of residents said they learned about local arts events in this fashion.

Use of Information Sources by Demographic Groups

Across all demographic groups, more people obtained information about local arts events from newspapers than from any other media or non-media source, according to the Local Area Arts Participation Study 1992. The range of reliance on newspapers, however, varied considerably across different demographic groups, from a high of 84% among those with a college degree to a low of 46% among Hispanics (in 1992). On average, 74% of people said they learned about local arts events from newspapers.

Sources of Information about Arts Events - 1992
By Demographic Groups
How do you learn or find out about arts events in your community?
(Multiple responses allowed)
Demographic Groups Media Sources Word of Mouth Mailings, Flyers, Brochures
Newspapers Television Radio Magazines
All Respondents 74% 26% 20% 4% 17% 16%
Age            
18 to 29 64% 22% 17% 4% 18% 12%
30 to 39 78% 29% 27% 5% 15% 16%
40 to 59 83% 27% 21% 4% 19% 16%
60 and over 72% 25% 12% 4% 16% 21%
Gender            
Male 72% 25% 20% 5% 16% 13%
Female 76% 26% 19% 3% 18% 19%
Race            
White 80% 23% 20% 5% 17% 17%
Black 63% 37% 24% 2% 16% 14%
Hispanic 46% 30% 19% 1% 10% 13%
Other 56% 29% 13% 3% 18% 16%
Education            
High School or Less 63% 27% 16% 4% 17% 12%
Some College 80% 28% 18% 4% 16% 15%
Bach. Degree or More 84% 22% 25% 5% 17% 22%
Income            
Less than $20,000 60% 28% 15% 3% 19% 16%
$20,000 - $49,999 82% 30% 20% 4% 15% 14%
$50,000 - $99,999 83% 19% 25% 4% 16% 18%
$100,000 or more 82% 22% 25% 8% 15% 25%
Marital Status            
Married 81% 26% 21% 4% 15% 18%
Widowed 67% 24% 10% 4% 20% 20%
Separated 57% 42% 14% 6% 32% 13%
Divorced 81% 27% 21% 3% 17% 13%
Never Married 62% 24% 20% 5% 18% 13%
Source: Summary Report: 12 Local Surveys of Public Participation in the Arts
(Washington DC: National Endowment for the Arts, 1993)
?Princeton University 2003 | www.cpanda.org

Use of newspapers as a source of information about local arts events varies considerably within most major demographic categories, except gender. Reliance upon newspapers was highest among people ages 40 to 59, whites, the college-educated, married people, and people with incomes above $20,000 (in 1992). In each of these groups, more than 80% said they learned about arts events in their community through newspapers. In contrast, fewer than 65% of 18 to 29-year-olds, non-whites, the non-college-educated, never married people, and people with incomes of less than $20,000 (in 1992) said they got information about local arts events through newspapers.

Use of television as a source of information about local arts events varies less across different demographic groups, although it does vary by race and income. Among racial groups, African Americans were the most likely to use television as a source of information about local arts events (37%), while whites were least likely (23%). Similarly, among income groups, people with incomes of less than $50,000 (in 1992) were the most likely to use television as a source of information about local arts events (29%), while people with incomes above $50,000 were least likely (20%).

Radio, the third most-cited source of information about local arts events, was most effective in reaching 30 to 39-year-olds (27%), those with Bachelor's degrees or higher (25%), and people with incomes of $50,000 or higher (25%). It was least likely to reach people ages 60 and over (12%), those with a High School degree or less (16%), and people with incomes of less than $20,000 (15%).

There was very little variation across demographic categories with respect to "word of mouth" as a source of information about local arts events. With but one exception (Hispanics, at 10%), the percentage of people who learned about local arts events through "word of mouth" varied between 15 and 19 percent across all demographic groups.

Targeted appeals, such as mailers, flyers, and brochures, were more successful in reaching people ages 60 and over than people ages 18 to 29 (21% vs. 12%), those with incomes above $100,000 than those with incomes under $50,000 (25% to 15%), those with Bachelor's degrees or higher than those with a high school degree or less (22% to 12%), and women than men (19% to 13%).

 

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