Rice Arts Survey Dissects Houstonian’s Arts Attitudes, Finds Unexpected Hope Amid Bar Graphs

Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research released the results of their 2012 Houston Arts Survey, a study of the attitudes of Houstonians towards the arts on Sept 25.  The first-of-its-kind study polled 1200 scientifically selected Harris County adults in 2011, asking questions their free-time activities, their reasons for attending or not attending arts events, their personal involvement in creative activities, their support for arts education and the importance they attach to the arts for the city’s overall quality of life.

Among the findings: More than 40 percent said they had attended a live arts performance during the past year.
63 percent had visited a museum, exhibit, library or art gallery.
37 percent were currently personally involved in the arts and other creative activities.
88 percent strongly or somewhat agree that public schools should put more emphasis on arts and music.
65 percent disagreed with the suggestion that “arts education for children is much less important than English, history or math.”
More than half said they would be willing to pay higher property taxes to support arts education in their school district.
26 percent of Houstonians had donated money to the arts.

When asked what they would choose if Houston could have either great sports teams and stadiums or excellent music and theater, 56 percent of all area residents said decisively they would choose the arts, 35 percent, sports; but when Houstonians were asked to name their favorite free-time activity, playing or attending sports was the most popular response, with 17 percent, followed by watching TV or videos (12 percent), reading (11 percent), and social activities with family and friends (11 percent); only 10 percent mentioned the arts.

The study, funded by Houston Endowment Inc. is available for download online. Filled with neat bar graphs on everything from attendance at arts events by ethnicity, to what kinds of music Houstonians listen to, it’s worth reading.

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