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August 2, 2001
New Studies Promise to Impact Arts Participation

Two new major studies of arts participation (formerly referred to as audience development), funded by major philanthropies and just  released by RAND, a policy research organization, promise to have significant impact on the future of arts organizations. 

The first is Building Participation in the Arts, funded by the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds. This study develops a framework for understanding how individuals decide to participate in the arts and provides guidelines for arts organizations to increase participation in their activities.

Second is The Performing Arts in a New Era, a study of the health of performing arts organizations in the US. 

Both studies observe that the greatest need is in developing audiences by affecting the decision making process. This is a departure from past approaches that have concentrated on developing more and better artistic products. Both reports are available free for personal use online. 

-Dwight Newton