May 26, 2022

Reference: New Arts Data Profile from NEA: “Arts Participation Patterns of Americans with Disabilities”

Here’s a recently released Arts Data Profile (#7) that includes data tables (.xlsx files) and summary (13 pages; PDF) made available by the the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The Arts Data Profiles series provides, “pain-free introductions to arts-related datasets through summary statistics, tables, visualizations, and links to other tools and resources.”

From the Introduction:

Title of Dataset

Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA)


Conducted on a five-year basis since 1982, with the most recent wave occurring in 2012

Target Population

U.S. civilians, non-institutionalized, 16 years and over

From the Summary Brief

In 2012, nearly 28 million U.S. adults had some type of disability, including serious difficulty seeing or hearing, or difficulty walking or climbing stairs. Persons 65 and older compose 45 percent of U.S. adults with disabilities.

Disabled adults are underrepresented in performing and/or visual arts audiences. While disabled adults compose nearly 12 percent of the U.S. adult population, they are just under 7 percent of all adults attending performing arts events or visiting art museums.

Still, disabled adults are just as likely as adults in general to attend an art exhibit or a live performing arts event in a place of worship.

Disabled adults are just as likely as all U.S. adults to create pottery and ceramics, do creative writing, or create visual art such as paintings or sculptures. Adults with disabilities are more likely than adults in general to create fiber arts such as weaving or quilting.

Disabled adults are just as likely as the general adult population to use radio, TV, or the Internet to listen to or watch programs about classical music, opera, theater, or dance. But disabled adults are less likely to use hand-held or mobile devices to consume art.

Beyond their disability status itself, other factors inhibiting arts attendance by disabled adults could be related to their generally lower levels of educational attainment and the fact that fewer disabled adults report having had certain arts experiences in childhood.

Resources Available

See Also: Direct to Other “Arts Data Profiles”

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.