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Survey: Massive Paradigm Shift Underway In American Culture

Richard Vogel
The BuzzFeed website is displayed on an iPad held by an Associated Press staffer in Los Angeles in 2015.

A new study shows that Americans are more loyal to restaurants and retail stores than to cultural organizations, such as museums and theaters. The Culture Track study by marketing agency LaPlaca Cohen also reveals that Americans are changing the way they define culture, and social media has a lot to do with those changes.

The Culture Track study was started in 2001 and claims to be the largest tracking study focusing on U.S. cultural consumption.

This year’s study looks at the behaviors of 4,000 cultural consumers and shows that more than one-third of people attending art museums or theaters don’t think either are cultural experiences. In fact, they were more likely to consider a street fair a cultural experience rather than an opera or ballet.

The study also shows that 81 percent of those surveyed say that “having fun” is the top priority when going to a cultural event, followed by “interest in the content,” “experiencing new things” and having “less stress.”

When it comes to donating, more people are willing to give for causes related to children, religion and health rather than culture, mainly because they believe other causes have greater impact.

Anthony Moaton is a former fellow at WSHU.