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In response to broad social, economic, and technological trends that have affected the arts environment over the past 15 years, arts organizations are increasingly reaching out to the communities they serve and encouraging individuals to participate in their programs. To successfully increase participation, they must identify and understand their potential audiences and develop programs and marketing approaches that will appeal to them.

To assist in those efforts, this report presents an introduction to the best of the growing body of literature on participation-building. It is not an annotated bibliography that summarizes the contents of specific articles and books; rather, it analyzes the key contributions of the literature and provides lists of the most important books and articles on specific aspects of arts participation.

The research described in this report was prepared for Wallace Reader’s Digest Funds and was conducted by RAND Education.

This report is part of the RAND draft series. The unrestricted draft was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003 that represented preliminary or prepublication versions of other more formal RAND products for distribution to appropriate external audiences. The draft could be considered similar to an academic discussion paper. Although unrestricted drafts had been approved for circulation, they were not usually formally edited or peer reviewed.

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