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Interim Report of Findings

The Value of Presenting: A Study of Arts Presentation in Canada

February 13, 201313 February 2013

Cultural participation / Social benefits of culture

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In addition to providing a profile of performing arts presenters and summarizing research into arts attendance in Canada, this report examines potential benefits of the arts, including impacts on the quality of life, well-being, social engagement, health, education, and communities.

The Value of Presenting Study includes surveys of 288 Canadian performing arts presenters and 1,031 members of the public. The results show that both groups place considerable importance on many community benefits of performing arts presentation. For presenters, the top-ranked benefit is a “stronger sense of community identity/belonging”. For the public, the top-ranked benefit is “bringing energy and vitality”.

Because the wording of the responses differed somewhat between the surveys of presenters and the public, the findings cannot be directly compared in some cases. However, the findings do suggest some interesting similarities and differences between how the two groups view community benefits of the arts.

There are some areas of agreement between presenters and the public. For example, the second-ranked benefit for presenters is a “more creative community” (52%). This benefit was ranked third out of 11 benefits by public respondents (37%). Similarly, the third-ranked benefit for presenters is “improved health/well-being of individuals/families” (30%), which was asked somewhat differently in the public survey, where 38% cited “improved quality of life and well-being” as a main benefit (ranking second).

There are also some differences in the survey results. The top-ranked benefit for presenters (a “stronger sense of community identity/belonging”) was cited as a key benefit by 76% of presenters. In comparison, only 15% of public respondents cited “stronger sense of identity” as a main benefit (ranking seventh among 11 possible community benefits).

“Bringing energy and vitality” – the top-ranked benefit for the public – was cited as a main benefit by 42% of public respondents but was not asked of presenters. In addition, “greater economic development” was ranked much higher by the public (fourth out of 11 benefits) than presenters (sixth out of eight benefits).

The public survey also asked about personal benefits from attending the performing arts. From most to least common, the personal benefits are:

  • “Entertainment, fun” (cited as a main personal benefit by 84% of respondents).
  • “Emotional/spiritual/intellectual stimulation” (58%).
  • “Learn/experience something new” (57%).
  •  “Exposure to different cultures” (45%).
  • “Opportunity to socialize with friends/meet people” (44%).
  • “A means of expressing myself/themselves” (27%).
  • “Learn about the past/understand the present” (25%).
  • Other (3%).
  • No benefit (3%).

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