… richer, whiter and older, that is, than the national averages from the National Endowment for the Arts. And Dallas artsgoers are richer, whiter, older than the Dallas city population. In fact, we’re a bit more akin to the population makeup of North Texas.
Maura Sheffler, community relations manager for TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) presented a breakdown of results from the inaugural year of TACA’s program, the North Texas Cultural Co-op. She spoke today to an audience primarily of arts managers gathered at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Forty-one non-profit member organizations provided the data on households, ticketbuyers, age groups, etc. from 2008 through 2014.
Roughly 500,000 unique households were in the database, and some of the conclusions were not surprising: 61 percent of arts patrons were single ticket-buyers, for instance, while 11 percent were subscribers. The top Zip codes for households attending Dallas arts were 75225 (University Park and Dallas), 75214 (Lakewood), 75205 (Park Cities), 75219 (Oak Lawn), 75206 (The Village and Lower Greenville) and 75201 (downtown).
But when the artsgoers were divided according to generations, the Dallas numbers skewed older with higher numbers among baby boomers (born 1947-1964), who represent 45 percent of the arts audience vs. 35 percent nationwide. At the same time, the numbers for Generation Y (1977-1997) were significantly lower, only 5 percent of the audience vs. 29 percent nationwide. Sheffler concluded that the ‘under 30’ crowd is definitely underserved by Dallas arts organizations.
When arts buyers were divided according to income, some 86 percent in Dallas had incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 or above — a group that amounts to only 70 percent nationwide. What was surprising, though, was the high number of people who had only a high school education: 36 percent. So although people with college degrees or higher do make up nearly two-thirds of the entire audience, even such a generally wealthy demographic still has one-third with only a high school diploma.
Ethnically, the Dallas artsgoers in this study are overwhelmingly white — more than 80 percent. This is against 29 percent in the Dallas city population. In contrast, only four percent of Dallas artsgoers are black while 25 percent of the city population is African-American. Dallas arts patrons are closer to the racial breakdown of the larger metropolitan area, which has 15 percent African-American and 49 percent white. This makes sense when one knows the top Zip codes include not only the Park Cities but Plano and McKinney.
Some of the other results were presented more for fun and quirky, counter-intuitive insight. Even with such a wealthy demographic, for example, Dallas artsgoers tended to own typically middle-class car brands (Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chevy). Costlier cars like Lexus, BMW and Mercedes were ranked #5, #6 and #7. Their numbers didn’t add up to Toyota’s.