Arts and culture play a significant role in the daily lives of Californians. The state is noteworthy for the avid participation of its people, the diversity and abundance of its arts organizations and the varied regional characteristics of its arts sector. California’s regions reflect distinctive populations, participation rates, numbers and types of arts and culture organizations, and levels of arts funding.
New findings generated by Markusen Economic Research and commissioned by The James Irvine Foundation offer fresh illustrations of the California nonprofit arts sector and the people who take part in it.
California has high participation compared to the rest of the United States. As shown above, in 2008, 52 percent of Californians over the age of 18 attended at least one arts event compared to 46 percent in other states. Arts and culture participation declined nationally from 2002 to 2008, but participation among California adults dropped only 6 percentage points compared to 8 points for other American adults.
But arts participation rates vary by region, dramatically. Rates of participation in the arts are not evenly distributed across California. As shown in the chart above, the San Francisco Bay Area contributes disproportionately to the state’s higher overall participation rate, with 66 percent in 2008. The lowest rates are found in the Riverside and San Bernardino counties and San Joaquin Valley; this combined area has a 42 percent participation level, which places it below the 46 percent level recorded for all states outside California. Three major urban centers — Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego — anchor regions with relatively high participation rates. Adults in the rest of the state — North Coast and North State, Northern Central Valley, Sierra and Central Coast regions — participate at a combined high level of 60 percent.
Arts, Culture and California provides highlights of the research.
Download the illustrated highlights (September 2011) (PDF, 1.3 MB)
California’s Arts and Cultural Ecology is the full research report.
Download the full report (September 2011) (PDF, 1.6 MB)
California’s Arts and Cultural Ecology, Technical Appendix details research sources and methodologies.
Download the technical appendix (September 2011) (PDF, 688 KB)