Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Museums, galleries, visual arts and heritage

This American report highlights findings from a “convening” of about 50 museum and education practitioners, funders, and policy experts, which had the goal of launching “a national dialogue about the future of education and how leaders from the worlds of education and museums can work together to integrate the nation’s educational assets into a vibrant learning grid”. A “vibrant learning grid” would be “a flexible and radically personalized learning ecosystem that meets the needs of all learners”.

(La fréquentation des institutions muséales au Québec en 2014 et 2015, optique culture no 48)

This report highlights attendance statistics at 422 Quebec museums, interpretive centres, and exhibition spaces (excluding artist-run centres). In 2015, total attendance was 14.0 million, slightly below the record level from 2013 (14.2 million). The report notes that school attendance showed a recent decrease, falling from over 1 million in previous years to 843,000 in 2015.

This aggregate profile of 184 Ontario museums “identifies the realities of operating museums in Ontario today” and provides “compelling evidence to demonstrate museum impacts and their economic, social and cultural contributions to Ontario’s communities”. The 184 Ontario museums responded to a survey designed and conducted by the Ontario Museum Association (OMA) in 2014-2015, and the survey results were analyzed by Hill Strategies Research Inc.

This Canadian survey, conducted in 2015 and capturing data from 2013, is intended “to provide aggregate data to governments and cultural associations in order to gain a better understanding of not-for-profit heritage institutions and to aid in the development of policies and the conduct of programs”. The total revenues of heritage organizations were estimated at $2.12 billion in 2013, a 2.9% increase from 2011 (figures not adjusted for inflation). Total expenditures were $1.97 billion, resulting in an operating surplus equivalent to 3.7% of total revenues in 2013.

This report examines perceptions of the arts and community attractiveness based on surveys of 500 Ontario-based skilled workers and 508 Ontario-based businesses with more than 20 employees. Among skilled workers, 65% of survey respondents were in agreement that “a thriving arts cultural scene is something I would look for when considering moving to a new community” (31% agree + 34% somewhat agree). Similarly, 64% of businesses agreed that “a thriving arts cultural scene is something that makes it (would make it) easier to attract to talent to the community” (35% agree + 29% somewhat agree).

A Guide to Developing and Delivering Accessible and Inclusive Programs within Arts and Cultural Organizations

Originally developed for the art education experiences provided by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, this guidebook outlines “seven steps to accessible and inclusive programs” that can be “beneficial to both audience and institution”. The guide emphasizes that accessible programs are “more than physical facilities”, and inclusive programs are “more than sharing a space”.

Based largely on data from 48 cultural organizations that offer regularly scheduled free days, this article argues that “free days often do the very opposite of mission work”, in that they tend to attract higher income individuals who probably would have come (back) to the organization anyway.

It’s not just the price of admission that’s keeping poor and less-educated adults away from arts events

This article, based on a variety of reports and data sources, indicates that “there is a significant proportion of economically disadvantaged people who do not take the initiative to experience the arts, even when time and cost are not issues.” Furthermore, the article argues that “a lack of explicit interest is far and away the dominant factor keeping low-SES [socioeconomic status] populations away from arts events”. Low socioeconomic status is defined “as those with at most a high school education and in the bottom half of the income distribution in the United States”.

A Synthesis of Literature and Expert Interviews

This literature review, originally created as part of a California arts participation study, explores how people participate in the arts, who participates, where participation happens, as well as motivations and barriers to participation.

Based on the 2012 U.S. General Social Survey, this report provides a detailed examination of the motivations of arts attendees (the 54% of Americans who attended at least one exhibition or performance during the previous year) and the barriers facing “interested non-attendees” (the 13% who did not attend a visual or performing arts event during the previous year but wanted to go to at least one exhibition or live performance).