Since our last update, we’ve made additional progress investigating the connection between arts participation and economic disadvantage. We’ve reviewed two new sources and also done “deeper dives” on one of the publications that were a part of our original investigation. This brings our total bibliography on the topic to 35 sources thus far. Here are the updates:

New Sources Reviewed: Arts and Economic Disadvantage (May 2015)

Novak-Leonard, J., Wong, J., & English, N. (2015). A Closer Look at Arts Engagement in California. Retrieved from
(capsule review)

Novak-Leonard, J., Reynolds, M., English, N., & Bradburn, N. (2015). The Cultural Lives of Californians. Retrieved from


Deeper Dive: Arts and Economic Disadvantage (May 2015)

Seaman, B. A. (2005). Attendance and public participation in the performing arts: A review of the empirical literature. Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series, (06-25). Retrieved from
(capsule review)


Meanwhile, we have wrapped up our investigation of the arts and wellbeing and have moved on to a project on the history of change in the arts ecosystem. This project allows us to examine in greater detail the capacity to create change in the arts sector by looking at the ways that change has occurred historically. Our research questions for this project are as follows:

  1. What have been the major changes that have taken place within the arts ecosystem in the United States over the past half-century (or more)?
  2. For each of these changes:
    • What have been the significant drivers in making that change possible?
    • Was the change at least partly attributable to an intentional effort? If so, what were the characteristics of that effort (e.g., funding, scope, timeframe, etc.) and how much influence did it have?
    • Does it seem like the change has been positive or negative from the perspective of our healthy arts ecosystem definition?
    • Which aspect(s) of our healthy ecosystem definition does it relate to?
  3. Is there a pattern that we can identify in #2 above, especially regarding the positive changes?

As a starting point to gather a variety of perspectives on these questions, we’ve conducted seven interviews with senior and retired leaders in the arts, as well as historians and others who study the arts ecosystem for a living. Those interviewees are as follows:

  • Maryo Gard Ewell
  • Marian Godfrey
  • Jonathan Katz
  • Amy Kitchener
  • Bob Lynch
  • Tommer Peterson
  • A.B. Spellman

In addition, we’ve reviewed the following sources:

Sources Reviewed: History of Change in the Arts Ecosystem (May 2015)

Binkiewicz, D. (2009). Directions in Arts Policy History. Journal of Policy History, 21(4), 424–430.

Flynn, S. (2008). Arts and Cultural Policy. Research Starters Business (Online Edition).

Hofferbert, R. & Urice, J. (1985). Small-Scale Policy: The Federal Stimulus versus Competing Explanations for State Funding of the Arts. American Journal of Political Science, 29(2), 308.

Kreidler, J. (1996). Leverage Lost: The Nonprofit Arts in the Post-Ford Era. The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society,26(2), 79–100.

We look forward to sharing our initial insights from these investigations soon. As always, if you are familiar with any of these sources and/or know of additional research that you think may be pertinent to our work, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.