New Survey of Americans Indicates Broad
Support But Little Action on Behalf of Arts
The non-profit arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts
conducted a telephone survey of over 1,000 people nationwide in
February 2001. The purpose of the survey was to gauge the
attitudes of people toward the arts and their actions in support of
the arts. Americans for the Arts will be launching a public service
campaign in late summer of 2001 encouraging people to support
their school arts programs and community arts organizations.
Participants were asked to rank the importance of arts education to
a child's development on a scale of 1 to 10:
42% chose 10
10% chose 9
21% chose 8
Therefore, 73% rank the importance of arts education at level 8 or
The survey participants were then given a series of activities that
may be important to a child's development, and again asked to
give each one a score from 1 to 10. Here is how they rated the
Reading for pleasure  9.1
Using computers for educational enrichment  8.5
Religious activities like attending church or synagogue  8.3
Joining peer groups such as boy scouts or girl scouts 7.7
Participating in competitive sports 7.6
Participating in individual hobbies such as stamp collecting 6.9
Surfing the Internet for fun 4.6
Notice in the above table that the arts ranked ahead of sports.
In another part of the study, participants were asked to agree or
disagree with statements.
91% agree that "the arts are vital to providing a well-rounded
education for our students."
89% believe that "arts education is important enough that schools
should find the money to ensure inclusion [of arts programs] in the
75% agree that "incorporating the arts into public education is the
first step in adding back what's missing in public education today."
96% believe that "art belongs to everyone, not just the fortunate or
76% believe that "arts education is important enough to get
personally involved in arts education in the schools," but only 35%
of those who are closely involved in the life of a child have done
68% of all respondents are satisfied with the current arts programs
provided by local schools. 100% of principals in the survey are
satisfied with the arts programs in their schools, as are 97% of the
school board members. In comparison, 52% of teachers are
satisfied, and 67% of PTA officers are satisfied.
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