This review looks at dozens of existing studies that attempt to measure the value and impact of the arts on people's lives.
This literature review is one of the NEA's latest efforts to conduct and commission research that examines evidence of the value and impact of the arts in other domains of American life, such as education, health and well-being, community livability, and economic prosperity.
While there is ample qualitative and anecdotal data on how people and communities are transformed by the arts, there is little research that quantifies the emotional impact of the arts. It's a challenge to analyze this subtle topic. How do you define the way that art affects people? By the happiness they express? By the rewards they derive? By their physiological response?
Furthermore, how do you measure this emotional impact? This review looks at dozens of existing studies that attempt to answer these elusive questions. Ultimately, this review will help inform the design of a survey that will capture reliable data on this seemingly indefinable subject. The NEA is working with a research team from WolfBrown to develop and pilot survey instruments and protocols for a pilot study of audiences at NEA-funded events. As part of this study, WolfBrown developed this literature review of relevant research.