Details on article

Id 151
Author Brown, A., S.; Novak-Leonard, J., L.
Title Measuring the intrinsic impacts of arts attendance

Brown, A.S.; Novak-Leonard, J.L. (2013). Measuring the intrinsic impacts of arts attendance. Cultural Trends, 22(3-4): 223-233.

Keywords Intrinsic impact; Public value; Arts benefits; Audience experience; Affect measurement; Customer satisfaction
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Abstract Understanding the value of the arts to individuals, families and communities has long been a query for policy-makers and researchers. At the core of the value system is how individuals are affected and transformed by virtue of participating. Individual arts experiences are the building blocks upon which the larger outcomes of the arts, such as social cohesion and cognitive development, are constructed. Tools for effectively measuring how art affects audiences, however, are just being explored. Anecdotal stories of impact provide helpful information. But as arts groups are called upon to provide more rigorous evidence of the impacts of their artistic pro-grammes, a more systematic measurement approach is needed to convey the intrinsic value of their work. This article reviews initial exploratory research and subsequent research undertaken over the past six years to better understand how art affects audiences, and to develop reliable and replicable measurement approaches. The research has yielded a more nuanced, but still emergent, understanding of the emotional, intellectual, social and aesthetic constructs of intrinsic impact, methods of measuring them, and insight into the limitations and applications of this work for policy-makers and arts practitioners.

Metodology This article primarily draws upon research reported in Brown and Novak (2007) and Brown and Ratzkin (2012). Three additional studies contributed to the evolution and refinement of the research approaches discussed in this article, the analytical results of which are not publicly available. The most substantial of these was a pilot study of the audiences and visitors of 27 US arts organizations commissioned by the NEA in 2011. The study used paired pre- and post-performance surveys to capture audience members’ experiences with a cross-section of 19 arts performances spanning various genres of dance, music and theatre presented by six arts pre-senting organizations. Survey packets consisting of a pre-performance survey, a post-performance survey and a postage-paid return envelope were distributed to randomly selected audience members upon their arrival at the performance location. As the research methods evolved, focus turned to developing analytical approaches, exploring data visualization techniques, and creating automated reporting tools.

Findings In disseminating the results of impact studies, there were many opportunities to discuss the applicability and uses of results with both arts practitioners and policy-makers. This research aims to further policy research and development, and aid arts organizations in capturing and reflecting on the intrinsic impacts of their artistic endeavours. The vocabulary of intrinsic impact is meaningful to both practitioners and policy-makers, and has the power to transform dialogue about the value of the arts. The authors maintain that this research merits further debate as to its benefits, limitations and appropriate uses in both policy and practice contexts. The constructs of intrinsic impact, as well as measurement approaches, are still developing. Much remains to be learned about the often unpredictable and idiosyncratic ways in which art works on individual audience members. Despite these complexities, audiences appear eager to share their feelings about arts programmes, and arts practitioners and policy-makers seem interested – however, trepidatiously – in listening.
Open Access NO
DOI DOI: 10.1080/09548963.2013.817654
Search Database Taylor & Francis
Technique Questionnaire; Document analysis
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