Research from Arts Council England shows increase in audience support, access

18 February 2005, United Kingdom

Arts Council England has released a new research report that charts public engagement with arts and culture across the country. The report, Arts in England, highlights growing widespread support for the arts and for their public funding. Attendance, participation, access and attitudes were examined in a survey carried out between September 2003 and January 2004, with results showing key increases since a comparable survey conducted in 2001. Speaking at the Royal Society for Arts on Wednesday 16 February, Sir Christopher Frayling, Chair of Arts Council England , discussed reasons for the increase in support. 'This shift in the nation’s appetite for the arts and culture – and the support for public funding – is linked both to the unprecedented investment in the arts from the National Lottery and from the Treasury in recent years, and to the increasing accessibility of what’s on offer,’ he said. ’More investment means that the public gets the opportunity to see more art, and more interesting art. That, in turn, creates an appetite and a demand for yet more art. And we are happier to pay for that art through taxes and through a weekly flutter on the lottery. It’s a virtuous circle.' Key findings from the report include: a jump in the percentage of people agreeing that ‘Arts and cultural projects should receive public funding’ (from 74% to 79%); 97% of participants believed schoolchildren should have the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument or participate in other arts activities; the proportion of people visiting an exhibition of art, photography or sculpture increased from 19% to 22%; and 87% had participated in at least one arts activity themselves. The study, the fourth in a series commissioned by the Arts Council, provides a rich source of data for policy makers, audience development agencies, programmers and managers. The full report is available at For more information, CLICK HERE.