U.S. Arts Participation Alive and Strong

America loves art. Contrary to media speculation and false rumors, the arts are alive and well in the U.S. All forms of performing, visual, and literary arts attendance and participation are growing according to the National Endowment for the Arts, which monitors the arts in the U.S. There are 175 million U.S. adults (54%) who participate in the arts.

Art is universal, our minds and spirits are hard wired for beauty and aesthetics. Art uplifts the mind and soul, it touches our most inner thoughts and emotions. Art is fundamental to the human condition. It is who we are and it is essential to human survival. Fostering art is critical to creativity and innovation – science comes from art.

In the following information, arts participation statistics are from the National Endowment for the Arts research reports available on their website. Arts employment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Arts education information is from the Arts Education Data Project.

Classical Music Participation

Collection: Classical Music

America loves music with 79.4 million adults creating and performing some form of music. The U.S. music Industry employs 1.9 million and there are 185,675 professional musicians in the U.S. Music education is ever popular with 24,321 high schools offering music programs and 697 colleges offering music degrees. There are 122,500 music teachers in the U.S. Adults that take non-school music lessons are 7.9 million.

The number of U.S. adults that listen to classical music is 54 million people. According to the League of American Orchestras there are 1,600 orchestras in the U.S. making 25,800 performances a year. Attendance of classical music is 23.2 million people. According to Opera America there are 156 opera companies in the US. Opera attendance is 5.1 million adults.

Visual Arts Participation

Brandywine Museum of Art | Visit Philadelphia

Visual arts attendance is at an all-time high in the U.S. with 67.2 million people who visit art museums, galleries, and exhibits and 41.1 million viewing art online. There are 227 public art museums and 700 university art museums in the U.S.

The education in the visual arts has seen no decline. There are 23,787 high schools, 89% of schools, that have art programs. There are 348 colleges that offer art degrees. In the U.S. there are 57,055 art teachers. The number of people that take art lessons outside of schools is 12.5 million.

People that are active in creating art make up 85.5 million, 33% of the adult population.

  • Fine arts-33.7 mil, Digital art-7.7 mil
  • Textiles-31.1 mil, Paper-18.1 mil, Leather/metal/wood-18.1 mil,
  • Photography-36.3 mil, Film/video-18.1 mil
  • Pottery and jewelry-10.3 mil

Professional Art Employment

  • Fine Artists 212,236, Design 828,747, Photography 147,300
  • Animation 64,400, Video Gaming 220,000
  • Architects 113,649, Interior Designers, 177,649

Dance Participation

Martha Graham Dance Company - Dance - Review - The New York Times

We are hard wired to dance and are captivated by the beauty and power of dance. Over 62 million American adults dance socially. There are 681,250 professional dancers and 66,266 private dance studios in the U.S. About 5.1 million adults take private non-school dance lessons.

According to Dance Magazine there are 324 professional dance companies in the U.S. Over 40 million people attend live dance performances. There are 3,200 high schools, 12%, that offer dance programs and 314 colleges offer degrees in dance.

Jazz Participation

Jazz club - Wikipedia

Contrary to media hype jazz is alive and popular and continues to grow with each generation. Americans who listen to jazz make up 85.5 million adults. Attendance of jazz music events involves 23.3 million adults. There are jazz clubs, concerts, and festivals across the U.S.

Literary Arts Participation

Children read more challenging books in lockdowns, data reveals | Books |  The Guardian

American literacy and reading is not in decline. Adults who read books make up 137.4 million with 108.9 million reading novels and 162 million reading magazines. Over 18 million adults write.

The publishing industry employs 766,300 and there are 197,768 full time professional writers. There are 26,727 high schools teaching writing and 189 colleges offering degrees in creative writing. English teachers total 1,279,570 people. There are 5.1 million adults taking private non-school writing classes.


12 Black plays and musicals headed to Broadway | Arts Culture |  miamitimesonline.com

Live drama and musical theater is big business. Over 67 million adults attend live theater. Performing theater employs 1.18 million people and 10.3 million people act or participate in live theater. There are 102 Broadway/Off Broadway theaters in New York City. Across the country there are 1,800 professional regional theaters and about 6,000 amateur community theaters. There are 606 colleges that offer theater arts degrees and 12,027 high schools with theater programs. About 2.5 million adults take private acting lessons.

Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood, founder of AOIDE Bruce J. Wood has worked on Wall Street in business finance and strategy, and has written hundreds of finance business plans, strategic plans, economic feasibility studies, and economic impact studies. Bruce has lectured on creativity and strategic thinking, as well as worked on the development of numerous publishing, film, television, and performing arts projects, along with downtown revitalizations, using the arts as an economic catalyst. As an aficionado of music, art, and dance, Bruce is also a writer and an outdoor enthusiast. He has written poetry, blogs, articles, and many creative project concepts. He lives in the Metro Detroit area and enjoys writing poetry, backpacking, and ballroom dancing.

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