According to a piece in the LA Times, "Popular conception says the arts' supporters are graying and shriveling. But it may be that as the crowd's individuals change, its age doesn't."

This is an interesting concept - that arts patrons are always older. Does this generalization fit the ABQ audience? Personally, when the spouse and I see live theater in town, we're almost always the youngest people in the audience and we're not in our 20s anymore. Hell, I'm not even in my 30s. By contrast, we saw a nice mixture of ages at Globalquerque, but even that demographic, IMHO, skewed to the 30 and over crowd.

Is it all just summed up here? "That when you're in college you drink Thunderbird at $2 a bottle, then you move up to Gallo, and when you are 40 or 50 you're ready for a nice Bordeaux." Should certain arts groups, like the NM Symphony, simply not bother with younger people, relinquishing them to movie theaters, the small venue music scene, and opportunities that cost relatively less?

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Comment by Patricia on October 3, 2008 at 2:08pm
I think the biggest issue here involves finances. When we're young, and we can't afford much, we have to pick and choose our shows. When I was a teenager, I would pick and choose which performances and concerts I'd attend based on my finances. I would sacrifice say something like Riverdance in favor of No Doubt, simply because I couldn't afford both.

While I'm not in my 30s yet, I have noticed that I am much more willing to see more performances because I can afford them now.

I also have noticed that as my education has increased about certain shows, the shows I attend have become more diverse.


I don't think that groups should overlook or discount the younger audiences. I think a large part of it is a matter of outreach and bringing in shows that interest them. For example, a show like RENT always seems to bring in younger audiences, and these audiences will often pay the hefty ticket price. If all of us that work in the performing arts community can afford to risk a little and bring in younger audiences, I think more would come. The drawback is that it is quite a bit of hard work- involving outreach to different audiences from who we're accustomed to reaching, and the risk that young people might not show up.

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