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Presentations on arts and culture in smaller cities

August 12, 201112 August 2011

Creative (smaller) cities

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Kelly Hill recently conducted a number of presentations in smaller cities, including St. John’s, St. Catharines and Barrie. These presentations provide some insights into the situation of arts and culture in smaller and regional centres.

In St. John’s, the session entitled Toward a Better Understanding of the Arts in the Economy and Civil Society explored the benefits of the arts to quality of life, social cohesion and economic vitality. The presentation, available at, also provided key data on St. John’s and Newfoundland artists, arts organizations, arts funding, donors and volunteers. The session included a facilitated discussion about the research findings and meaning behind the data, including dialogue about local factors that might influence the statistics for St. John’s and other cities.

The St. Catharines presentation (Who’s your Audience? Performing Arts Attendance and Marketing: A Statistical View) provided current information and trends on performing arts attendance and marketing, with some data on St. Catharines artists and attendance. The aim of this event was to strengthen the management and marketing effectiveness of arts organizations in St. Catharines and Niagara while also providing insights to arts patrons, local businesses and politicians. Attendees deepened their understanding of trends in arts audiences and engaged in a post-presentation dialogue to share experiences and identify strategies for growing local audiences. In particular, participants discussed the importance of “cultural crossovers” (i.e., high performing arts attendance rates by attendees at other types of cultural activities). The presentation can be downloaded from

The presentation in Barrie (Telling the stories of the arts: Artists, attendance, engagement, impacts and benefits) aimed to help develop some key storylines about the arts in Barrie. Kelly Hill presented information about artists in Barrie, arts attendance trends, audience engagement, arts education, the social and economic effects of culture, and culture in small and rural communities. Participants discussed the research findings and how they might help identify and tell some key stories on the arts in Barrie and the region. The presentation is available at

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