2010 CEI Key Findings

Key Findings

  • The 2010 Cultural Engagement Index (CEI) survey documents 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. (The nine components are Arts Learning, Inventive Engagement, Interpretive Engagement, Curatorial Engagement, Attend Live Performing Arts, Visit Art Museums & Art Galleries, Visit History & Science Museums, Attend Community Cultural Events, and Media-Based Consumption.)
  • Significant gains were reported for dance, theatre, visual arts and online activities.  While the reported frequency of doing dance activities did not gain in frequency between 2008 and 2010, significantly more respondents in 2010 attach importance to a range of dance activities.  For example, the percentage of respondents who said that “dancing socially at night clubs or parties” is “very important” to them jumped from 20% in 2008 to 28% in 2010, a year-over-year increase of 27%.  Similarly large increases in importance were reported for “attend plays or musicals with professional actors,” “visit art museums or art galleries,” “make crafts of any kind,” and for all of the online creative activities tested, which also gained significantly in frequency. 
  • Cultural engagement is highest for younger adults in the 18-34 age cohort. Younger survey respondents reported higher scores than their older counterparts, with some of the highest scores in both attendance and personal practice. Engagement then falls off for older cohorts, particularly because of a decline in personal practice activities. However, respondents aged 35-44 (Generation X) reported the highest overall attendance-based scores of any cohort.
  • Parents and caregivers of young children continue to take advantage of opportunities to engage their families in arts and cultural activities with an eye toward learning and nurturing experiences. Across lifestage groups, adults with children have more active creative lives than those without children. When asked why they take part in cultural activities, most cited a desire to “strengthen family relationships.”  This is a critical time to more deeply engage adults in the creative development of their children. 
  • Cultural Engagement increased for all ethnic and racial groups; however engagement levels for African-Americans and Hispanics increased more, and continue to be consistently higher than those for Whites. African-Americans saw large increases to already high levels of participation (African-American CEI scores increased 20% to 150 and Hispanics increased 16% to 131), with Hispanics representing the most engaged population with significantly higher rates of both personal practice and audience-based activity.
  • Active cultural participants place tremendous importance on the value of cultural activity, AND they vote. Higher civic engagement is directly correlated with higher cultural engagement. Respondents who participated in all five civic activities examined in the CEI (“socialize with neighbors”, “attend religious services”, “do volunteer work”, “have a library card” and “have voted in the last year”) scored three times higher for cultural engagement than those who reported no civic engagement activities.
  • Just as in 2008, men and women have different engagement patterns. Men are more active making original videos or film, composing music, and remixing material found online. Women are more engaged in painting and other original art creation, writing about their lives in journals or blogs, and attending professional dance performances. Both men and women saw large increases in engagement for attendance to live performing arts, and visits to art museums and galleries.
  • Personal practice activities continue to increase in importance. Respondents ascribed greater importance to the making and performance of artistic activities than they did in 2008. One possible implication is that, as cultural organizations look to increase attendance, they should explore ways of providing more participatory experiences to attract new audiences and more deeply engage current ones.
  • The totality of cultural engagement naturally subdivides into 12 groupings of activities. While most people think in terms of disciplines (i.e., music, dance, theatre, visual art, history and heritage, etc.), a deeper analysis reveals 12 natural groupings of activities such as: kinetic/oral arts practice, narrative arts practice, digital arts practice, attendance at art museums and film festivals, spiritual/worship-based cultural activities, etc.  Finding “intersections” between these groupings of activities could lead to higher participation.
  • Despite the economic crisis, the CEI suggests that Philadelphia is more culturally vibrant than the nation as a whole. The 11% CEI increase, coupled with recent data from The Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative (Philadelphia 2011: State of the City) documenting a 7% increase in attendance at Philadelphia county nonprofit cultural organizations from 2005 to 2009, demonstrate an increase in Philadelphia’s vibrancy. At the same time, national studies have shown general declines: American’s for the Arts National Arts Index has declined every year since 2007 and the most recent National Endowment for the Arts’ Survey of Public Participation in the Arts reported a 5% drop.