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ERIC Number: ED516880
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 56
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Live from Your Neighborhood: A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals. Volume Two: Seven Case Studies. Research Report #51
Rosenstein, Carole
National Endowment for the Arts
This report complements a national survey of outdoor arts festivals (see "Live from Your Neighborhood: A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals, Volume One: Summary Report") by focusing on seven case study festivals: Houston International Festival; Piccolo Spoleto; Lowell Folk Festival; Santa Fe Indian Market; Chicago Jazz Festival; Tamejavi Festival; and D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival. The results yield fresh insights and information about the ways in which outdoor arts festivals contribute to artistic and creative vitality in the United States. As documented by the national survey, outdoor arts festivals increase Americans' access to the arts because they often are free or relatively low-priced. But the case studies reveal that festivals enhance public access in other meaningful ways as well. The case study festivals: (1) took place in welcoming, familiar, central public spaces; (2) allowed audiences to socialize while attending arts activities, an opportunity that research tells is an important motivating factor in broadening and diversifying arts audiences; and (3) provided access to the arts for parents and children alike, giving audiences the impression that festivals are more family-friendly than other arts venues. The case study festivals provided unique artistic experiences. They: (1) occurred in unique natural and architectural environments that lend new works, as well as performances and exhibitions of older works, a distinctive expressive potential; (2) presented diverse programming, mixing more familiar genres and performers with those that are less well known to a degree that is uncommon in many arts venues; (3) functioned as a gateway to new arts activities by creating an informal atmosphere that encourages audiences to experience new art forms and styles; (4) provided opportunities for arts education and for interaction between artists and audience members; and (5) promoted professional development and a sense of community for artists. Case study festival audiences: (1) resembled other national arts audiences in terms of gender, income, and educational attainment; (2) were more ethnically and racially diverse than other arts audiences; and (3) were frequent arts attenders and showed very high levels of engagement in the creation or performance of art work. These festivals have strong ties with and contribute to communities. Stakeholders perceive that the festivals: (1) contribute to communities' identity, economies, and civic engagement; (2) contribute to the arts and cultural education of communities; and (3) are important to the lives of communities. The festivals have special requirements in terms of their administration. They: (1) depend on government in important ways--particularly local agencies such as police, parks and recreation, and streets and sanitation departments, as well as local leaders such as mayors--for their efficiency and financial health because they use public spaces as arts venues and must employ public resources to do so; (2) are vitally sustained by a robust, engaged volunteer workforce that fulfills both non-expert and expert roles and provides much of the public face of the festival; and (3) are currently experiencing financial shortfalls. Appendices include: (1) Festival Administrator Interview Guide; (2) Artist Focus Group Interview Guide; (3) Volunteer Focus Group Interview Guide; (4) Festival Participant Survey (Short-Form Survey); and (5) Festival Special Programs Participant Survey (Long-Form Survey). (Contains 21 figures, 7 tables and 29 footnotes.) [For related report, "Live from Your Neighborhood: A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals. Volume One: Summary Report. Research Report #51", see ED516879.]
National Endowment for the Arts. 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20506. Tel: 202-682-5400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Endowment for the Arts
Identifiers - Location: California; Illinois; Massachusetts; New Mexico; New York; South Carolina; Texas