Constraints to Art Museum Attendance


  • Jinhee Jun
  • Gerard T. Kyle
  • Joseph T. O'Leary


Art museum, attendance, constraints


In spite of the considerable amount of research on leisure constraints, contextual issues still complicate broad generalizations concerning how individuals experience and respond to certain constraints. One activity context that has received little attention is the arts; an array of culturally based artistic endeavors. Little is known of what art attendees perceive to be factors that constrain their enjoyment of the arts. Without empirical evidence, it is problematic to assume that constraints to art attendance are identical to those related to other leisure activities. Thus, this study investigated the constraints which limit interested non-visitors from attending art museums and the relationship between the constraints and several socio-demographic indicators. Data were collected from the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) conducted by the Westat Corporation of Rockville, Maryland. From a total sample of 12,349 valid responses, a subsample of “interested non-participants” was selected for our analysis (n=2,261). Using multivariate analysis of variance, we examined both the main effects and two-way interactions of five socio-demographic indicators along three dimensions of constraints: intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural constraints. Our findings illustrated that different sociodemographic factors influence different constraint dimensions. Income was a significant factor in explaining people’s experience of intrapersonal and structural constraints whereas age, gender, and number of children in the household were significantly related to the experience of interpersonal constraints. We also observed that perceived constraints to museum visitation was a function of both main and interactive effects of several socio-demographic factors. Respondents’ scores on the intrapersonal and structural constraint dimensions varied between genders and within gender due to the number of children in the household. The data also illustrated that place of residence filtered the effect of socio-demographic variables (i.e., gender, number of children, and income) on the experience of constraints. Given that the sample used in this investigation reflects potential visitors, our findings provide some guidance for managers seeking to target viable market segments not already consuming their art-related services. We recommend that service providers attempt to offer packages targeted to families and low-income groups. For families, these packages would allow for affordable entry at times least likely to conflict with parents’ work schedules (e.g., Saturday mornings). For low-income groups (who may also have families), discounted rates could be offered at non-peak periods.?





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