Arts activities take place ‘off the radar’

Only a small fraction of arts and culture activity takes place within the boundaries of theaters, galleries and museums, says a study by WolfBrown and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

Most arts activities, including music, drama, writing and visual arts, take place at home, says the study, “Cultural Engagement in California’s Inland Regions.”

Many of the 6,000 people surveyed in California’s San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire, especially African-Americans and Hispanics, said they participate in arts activities in places of worship and community spaces such as parks.

Six in 10 African-Americans and Hispanics said they practice cultural traditions through art forms such as music, dance and craft-making.

Downloading music was found to be the third most-common form of music participation, after listening to music on the radio and attending concerts, the study says.

Just over half the people surveyed said they regularly take photographs, while about a quarter said they paint, draw or make other types of visual art.

Four in 10 people are involved, or used to be involved, in music activities such as singing or playing a musical instrument.

However, many people said they want to increase their level of involvement in the arts, with a third of adults indicating they would like to take dance lessons.

To promote arts and cultural activities, communities should support venues such as schools and public parks, encourage cultural traditions and provide low-cost musical instruments and instruction, the study says.

The James Irvine Foundation, which funded the study, aims to advance the educational, civic and economic prospects of low-income Californians.

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