Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Glass less than half full but could be construed as not completely leaking

OK, so the NEA has released the latest installment of its once-every-few-years assessment of the American appetite for the arts. And as you'd expect, the news is mostly dismal.
BUT ...
BUT ...
As a national average, 35 percent of American adults claim that, in the last 12 months, they had gone to an arts museum and/or attended an arts performance.

The combined population of Spokane and Kootenai counties right now is just about exactly 600,000.
Right around three-quarters of the population is 18 or older.

Based on census.gov, I'm calculating about 354,000 adults in Spokane County and about 105,000 in Kootenai County.
Do the math.
That's 160,000 adults in our two counties who say they attend arts events (at least with minimal frequency). (And no, I don't know about the numbers of hard-core, frequent arts attendees, and all the talk about how the same 3,000 people attend all the theater around here.)
Even if our arts attendance is well below national norms, say, 30 percent -- that's still 137,000 people in the two counties.

*The Inlander,* for example, is up to 49,000 for average weekly circulation -- we just did an even 50,000 for our tied-for-biggest-ever 128-page Summer Guide, so that's in the ballpark. (The industry standard, accounting for papers passed around doctors' offices, etc., is 2.2 readers per copy picked up. In a typical week, 5-6 percent of the copies we distribute are returned (not picked up). Round numbers, that's 46,000 copies read by just over 100,000 readers each week.) So generally, that confirms the size of the audience.
So buck up, local arts organization-promoting persons! That's tens of thousands of people out there who ARE disposed to hear your message.

What's more: Note the bit in the NEA report about how "arts consumption" on the Internet (so to speak) is growing.
Forty percent of ALL Net users use it to access, view, download art. Even if that's inflated -- it goes on to note that 20 percent of ALL Net users use it to view visual arts (paintings, sculptures, photographs).
That's a way lot of people who are hungry for art. They just like to view it while in their jammies.
But if you get them excited about it at home, they will put on some decent clothes and go out and witness the art that you have to offer.
Conclusion: arts orgs should be marketing on the Internet like crazy.

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