NEA Funds Benefit Rich and Poor Alike, Says Study

A study being released today has found that federally funded arts programs draw audience “from across the income spectrum,” writes Patricia Cohen in the New York Times—chipping away at an old argument that programs like the National Endowment for the Arts disproportionally benefit the wealthy. The study, conducted by the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, scrutinized income differentials in regions receiving arts funding versus unfunded regions. The researchers found that the most economically diverse areas were most likely to receive grants, and that programs funded with art grants, in turn, were equally likely to draw rich and poor attendees. “There is not a disproportionate benefit to wealthy individuals,” said Zannie Giraud Voss, the director of SMU’s arts research center.