Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Arts attendance & participation

This brief report focuses on a few studies related to the social and economic benefits of cultural engagement. The review found that “people benefit in multiple ways when there is a vibrant arts and culture base in their community and that taking part or engaging in arts and cultural activities1 has certain positive effects on individual well-being”.

2013 Arts Facts using CADAC Data

A brief summary accompanies two longer reports that highlight the situation of 49 media arts presenters and 45 production centres “that receive recurring funding from the Media Arts Section of the Canada Council for the Arts”, based on financial and statistical data reported to CADAC (Canadian Arts Data / Données sur les arts au Canada).

This report estimates that 3.5 million Canadians sang in a choir in 2017, or 10% of the country’s population, based on a public survey of 2,000 Canadians. The report also uses the results of the public survey to estimate that “7.8 million Canadian adults (18 or older) attended a choral performance in 2016”, or 28% of the adult population. The report estimates that there are 27,700 choirs in Canada, the majority of which are church choirs (17,500, or 63%).

Primarily based on a survey of over 7,500 Australians 15 and older (as well as similar surveys in 2009 and 2013), this report outlines key data on Australians’ arts participation, recognition of the value of the arts, and attitudes toward the arts. A key finding of the report is that 98% of Australians engaged with the arts in some way in 2016.

Culture Track summarizes survey findings related to Americans’ cultural engagement as well as the “attitudes, motivators, and barriers to participation”. The top motivators for cultural participation are having fun (chosen by 81% of respondents), interest in the content (78%), experiencing new things (76%), feeling less stressed (also 76%), and learning something new (71%). Across all types of cultural activities, the top barrier to participation is the belief that “it’s not for someone like me”. Survey results indicate that “audiences have different needs and wants at different times – or even simultaneously”.

This international literature review attempts “to better understand whether research has shown that arts experiences of any kind – whether conventional audience experiences or newer “engagement” experiences, learning in the arts, or making art itself – affect civic engagement”. A key finding of the report is that “correlations between arts participation and the motivations and practices of civic engagement are substantial and consistent.” However, “the effects of the arts are likely to be cumulative over significant time and difficult to document: a slow drip rather than a sudden eruption, and easy to take for granted”.

The nine video presentations in this series outline findings “from three years of strategic experimentation and shared learning” by seven arts organizations, with the overarching goal of better understanding “how to engage with audiences and build communities”.

This brief article, based on data from various American sources, argues that “cultural organizations are not (primarily) asking for money when they aim to secure visitation. Cultural organizations are asking for an investment of time – and that is much more complicated and a bigger ask than many leaders may realize.”

(La fréquentation des arts de la scène au Québec en 2016, Optique culture #56)

This recent report from Quebec’s cultural observatory analyzes performances, paid attendance, and box office revenues related to theatre, dance, music, comedy, circus, and magic performances in 2016, based on a census of Quebec-based performing arts presenters. The 17,200 performances with an admission fee in Quebec in 2016 (a 1% increase from 2009) attracted 7.1 million paid attendees (a 5% decrease from 2009).

Based on a survey of more than 2,000 Canadians (including substantial samples of youth and Indigenous residents), this report highlights information about arts and heritage attendance, personal arts participation, as well as perceptions of cultural activities and government arts support. The report concludes that there is “robust public engagement with arts and culture in Canada”.