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MFA study finds Bostonians love cultural events

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, BostonThe William I. Koch Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Bostonians are more culturally engaged and attend a greater number of cultural events per month compared with the national average, the Museum of Fine Arts said Friday.

The MFA’s findings are the result of a study of the Boston area’s cultural audience titled “Culture Track 2014: Focus on Boston.” According to a statement from the MFA, 1,238 people from Boston, Greater Boston, and parts of New Hampshire answered online questions from February to March about their engagement in culture, for the first Boston edition of the survey.

“This study, commissioned by the MFA, gets inside Boston’s unique cultural mindset, which is deeply informed, engaged, and unique,” MFA director Malcolm Rogers said in the statement. “We expect that it will help as we build and diversify our audiences in the future. It’s a privilege for us to share the findings with Boston’s cultural community.”


The study found that 78 percent of Boston-area audiences participate in at least one cultural event each month, while only 69 percent of national audiences do.

The study was conducted nationally among 4,026 respondents in January and February.

Bostonians even think of culture more broadly, the survey found. Residents in the Boston area consider culture a wide range of topics, including parks, art, design, music, food and drink, public radio, and film.

The most culturally active audiences around Boston are milliennials, about ages 18 to 29, and Generation X, about 30 to 49, the MFA said. On a national level, prewar audiences, about 70 and older, participate more than Gen X.

The study also found that Bostonians will use social media more often before taking part in cultural activities. In addition, they are more likely to participate in culture if the commute is short.

Despite their increased participation in culture, Bostonians are more stressed and scheduled than the rest of the nation, according to the data.


The MFA worked on Culture Track with LaPlaca Cohen, a New York City-based strategy, design, and advertising firm, the statement said. The research firm Campbell Rinker also assisted.

Other findings showed that those in the Boston area were more likely to use print and broadcast sources to find cultural activities than their national counterparts.

Also, Bostonians planned their trips in advance and used their smart phones while participating in cultural events.

When asked to define their experiences, participants said culture was “enriching,” and “meant to broaden horizons.”

Melissa Hanson can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com.