Friday, November 17, 2006

New NEA Study - From Press Release Received Today

National Endowment for the Arts Releases Study on The Arts and Civic Engagement
Contact:Sally Gifford 202-682-5606
Large population survey is first to find links between arts participation and community health
November 1, 2006

Washington, D.C. -- People who participate in the arts are people who help make communities thrive, according to a study released today by the National Endowment for the Arts. The study, The Arts and Civic Engagement: Involved in Arts, Involved in Life, reveals that people who participate in the arts also engage in positive civic and individual activities -- such as volunteering, going to sporting events, and outdoor activities -- at significantly higher rates than non-arts participants. The report shatters the stereotype that art is an escapist or passive activity, showing instead that it is associated with a range of positive behaviors. The study also reveals that young adults (18-34) show a declining rate of arts participation and civic activities.

The study is the first to measure the connection between arts and civic engagement, which can be defined as promoting a positive quality of life through individual and group activities. This new examination of data is based on information from the 2002 NEA Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, which interviewed 17,135 adults ages 18 and older about their activities in a 12-month period. This latest report analyzes civic behaviors reported by arts participants and non-arts participants. Among the key findings:

Arts participants volunteer more. Literary readers and arts participants volunteer at more than twice the rate of those who do not read literature or participate in the arts. For example, half of all performing arts attendees volunteer or do charity work, compared with less than 20% of non-attendees. Those who read literature such as short stories, poems, or novels are almost three times as likely to volunteer as non-readers.

Arts fans are sports fans. Contrary to popular belief, the people who go to theater and concerts are also comfortable showing team spirit at the sports stadium or neighborhood soccer field. People who attend performing arts attend sporting events at twice the rate of non-attendees, and arts participants are also more likely than non-arts participants to play sports.

Arts participants enjoy the great outdoors. Literary readers and arts participants engage in outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, or canoeing, at double the rate of non-arts participants. They also exercise at nearly twice the rate of non-readers and non-participants.

Young adults are less involved in civic life. Over a 20-year period, young adults are reading less literature, attending fewer arts performances, and even listening to less jazz and classical radio. Young adults also are less involved in sports and exercise, and volunteer rates were flat. Over a similar 20-year timeframe, obesity among young adults grew by roughly 10 percentage points (source: National Center for Health Statistics, Health United States, 2004).

"Healthy communities depend on active and involved citizens," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "The arts play an irreplaceable role in producing both those citizens and those communities."
The study shows that arts participants and readers lead more active lifestyles than commonly is perceived, that they contribute substantial social capital to their communities through high levels of charity works and participation in sports and outdoor activities. Further, the study demonstrates that arts participation can be seen as an indicator of civic and community health. Finally, the study reveals that young adults may be particularly susceptible to giving up both artistic and civic activities.

The NEA Research Division issues periodic research reports and briefs on significant topics affecting artists and arts organizations. The Arts and Civic Engagement report, along with the 2002 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, is available in print and electronic form in the
Publications section of the NEA website.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts – both new and established – bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Flamingo Sadness

As noted in a recent article in the Pawtucket Times, (thanks, Mom) Plastic Pink Flamingos are dead at 49. Union Products of Leominster, Massachusetts is now closed. The sale of the molds is in negotiation with two American companies, and one Candian company. Should I be worried about the three pink boys guarding my front steps? Will someone steal them for ransom money? What if the price of Plastic Pink Flamingos goes up so high on Ebay that only the rich can afford them? Another cultural icon born in the blue collar world adopted by the upper eschelon. . . ? Add this to the remember when column. Check out the video "The Pink Plastic Flamingo, The Ambassador of the American Lawn" - Change is everywhere.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ladies Who Lunch

I could easily become one of these . . . there is so much to be learned by sitting with food and drink, actually focusing on what a person has to say. I consider myself a good listener. Had lunch with Maureen Milford on Friday. Hurray for Bennigan's Baked Potato Soup. Trying to connect with new people with the intention of generating job leads. No response from Kalmay Nyckel or DCAD. Courtesy of basic response in the job application game is dead, apparently. Just a postcard to say "Sorry, no" would be helpful. Have been mulling over the possibility of Birmingham and what it would mean to the household. Assuming I would make enough of a salary to send money home . . . I rather like the idea of taking a sabbatical from the household. Applied online for a program assistant position at The Providence Plan and a program something at Wolf Trap Foundation in Virginia. Still thinking about New England and being closer to family and roots. No word from Judith Cizek and the U of D position she's waiting for. Prepping for another teacher training at CCAC tomorrow. Monday morning visual arts. Onward and upward.