Press Release - Arts Council England
THE ARTS ARE MORE POPULAR THAN EVER, NEW FIGURES REVEAL
New figures released today show that the number of people who experience the arts regularly has increased by over 800,000 since 2001 - over 60 per cent more than the Government's target* for that period.
The figures are released by Arts Council England on the day that it publishes the results of a major five year research project, The New Audiences Programme. The Arts Council's New Audiences Programme was backed with a total direct investment of £20 million from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
New Audiences looked at the practical and personal barriers that can limit the public's enjoyment of the arts and aimed to find new and innovative ways of breaking down those barriers. The Programme helped arts organisations to modernise the way they generate interest and enthusiasm among their own communities and potential audiences.
The New Audiences Programme supported 1,157 projects across the country and in every area of the arts. It looked at the kind of activities and approaches that can attract young people, families, older people, people with disabilities and people from more isolated rural communities and culturally diverse communities to the arts.
Arts organisations that participated in the Programme undertook a range of innovative activity that included making arts buildings more family friendly; using new technology to market arts events, including the use of text messaging as a way of promoting the arts; ambassador schemes, and placing new arts activities in non-traditional settings such as public spaces, for example; a Bollywood drive-in cinema that took place in a park (details of individual projects and contact details are available from the Arts Council's national press office and regional communication teams).
Projects organised with the support of New Audiences over the five years were hugely successful. Nearly 1.5 million people attended events aimed at young people and over 500,000 people attended culturally diverse arts events.
New Audiences also initiated a partnership with the BBC, the Roots project, based at local radio stations, and supported the Channel 4 series, Operatunity.
Sir Christopher Frayling, Arts Council Chairman, said:
"The arts are opening their doors - wider and wider. The figures and the results of the New Audiences Programme demonstrate the creativity of our arts organisations, and prove that with continued investment, the barriers to the public's enjoyment of the arts can be broken down and new audiences reached."
"Our main challenge now is to build on this success by applying the lessons of the New Audiences Programme as widely as possible and making sure that artists and arts organisations have the support they need to reach out to even more people in even more places."
Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, added:
"The Arts Council's New Audiences Programme has been a huge success. We are all aware of the traditional obstacles to having a direct experience of the arts: disability, domestic circumstances, or even simply the feasibility of getting to and from a theatre or concert hall. But sometimes there is an even greater obstacle - the sense that the arts are 'not for me'."
Notes to editors
*The Funding Agreement between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for 2001-4 includes the performance indicator:
Arts Council England will work to help increase by 500,000 by 2004 the numbers of people experiencing the arts (PSA target 5).
This target echoes one of the DCMS's own performance indicators to the Treasury.
The baseline figure for attendance in 2001, based on a survey carried out in July-Nov 2001, was calculated as 14,437,900. Change is measured against this figure. Final data for 2003-04 indicate a figure of 15,249,000. This is an increase of 811,100.
The scope, for the purposes of the PSA target, was England. People were defined as adults age 16 and over. Experiencing the arts was defined as attending at least two events in the past 12 months.
· The arts were defined as:
· A play or drama
· An exhibition or collection of art, photography or sculpture
· An event connected with literature
· A performance of opera/operetta
· A classical music concert
· A jazz concert
· Live dance, for example; ballet, contemporary dance, African People's dance, South Asian dance
· A craft exhibition
About the New Audiences Programme
The Arts Council's New Audiences Programme was supported with direct funding of £20 million from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport over a 5 year period from 1998 to 2003.
New Audiences aimed to tackle the barriers that stop people engaging with the arts, to increase the range and number of people participating in the arts, to create new opportunities in the arts in different spaces and places, and to improve audience development practice in arts organisations through research and shared experience. Independent evaluation, research, training and development work was also supported as an integral part of the Programme.
The Programme supported 1,157 projects across England during the 5 year period. It generated audiences of over 4 million people to live arts events.