Most agree art is an important part of life

May 19, 2015, 1:48 PM GMT+0

Most Americans think that art is an important part of a well-rounded life, but only a third would pay a small amount extra in taxes to make it more accessible

The Pablo Picasso work 'Women of Algiers' broke a record for the most expensive painting ever sold last week after a private collector purchased the work at auction for $179 million. The news highlights both the rocketing price of significant art works as well as a growing trend for art to be purchased both for its own enjoyment and as an investment.

YouGov's latest research shows that most Americans (51%) think that enjoying art is an important part of living a 'well-rounded life', while a third of Americans (34%) disagree. Men (41%) and Republicans (42%) are particularly likely to disagree that it's important to enjoy art. Women (56%) and, above all, wealthier Americans are the most likely to say that enjoying art is an important part of a well-rounded life. 73% of people living in households with incomes over $80,000 say that art is an important part of life.

Asked to choose words which describe the world of art and culture, 47% of Americans said it is 'expensive'. Only 23% said it is 'accessible', essentially level with the 22% of Americans who say the world of art and culture is 'elitist'.

Nevertheless, despite the widespread sense that art and culture is expensive, Americans oppose even a small tax increase to make art more accessible. Asked whether they would pay and extra $5 a year in taxes to widen access to art 50% of Americans say not, while 34% say yes. Democrats only narrowly say that they would pay an extra $5 a year (46% to 39%) and majorities of independents (51%) and Republicans (62%) say that they would not pay more.

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here.