Live From Your Neighborhood: A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals: Executive Summary
From April through October of 2009, the NEA conducted an exploratory study of outdoor arts festivals in the United States. The purpose of the study was to characterize the number and variety of outdoor arts festivals nationwide, the artists they employ, the communities they serve, and the role they play in our cities, towns, and neighborhoods.
The study used a mixed-methods approach that consisted of a) an online survey of arts festival administrators across the U.S., and b) case studies at seven festival sites. Although festivals from 49 states participated in the online survey, the results are not necessarily representative of the entire field; rather, they reflect a crosssection of U.S.-based outdoor arts festivals. The report provides baseline information about a vital, relatively unstudied segment of the nation’s arts sector. It can serve also as a tool for arts and civic leaders to discuss festival planning in their communities. [Introduction, p. 3]
This study began with a readily understandable impulse: to enumerate the nation’s outdoor arts festivals and to identify their shared and divergent traits, considering factors such as event programming, staffing, finances, and audience demographics.