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Toronto Arts Stats: Public Opinion 2015

October 21, 201521 October 2015

Benefits of the arts

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Based on a non-random online survey of about 500 Toronto residents as well as three focus group sessions, this report indicates that 97% of respondents “see at least one benefit of the arts to the City of Toronto”. The two most commonly selected benefits to the City were attracting tourists (79%) and highlighting the city’s cultural diversity (71%). Four other municipal benefits were selected by about sixty percent of respondents: “improving the city’s economy” (63%), “making the city a better place to live” (also 63%), “creating a more beautiful city” (62%), and “creating employment” (59%).

Eighty-nine percent of respondents selected at least one personal benefit of the arts. Exposure to new ideas was by far the most common choice (66% of respondents), followed by “making me feel proud of our city” (46%), “touching a spiritual or reflective part of myself” (44%), “helping me develop / express my creative side” (43%), and having the arts as “an important part of my social life” (37%). Only 2% of respondents selected “entertainment purposes”.

Eighty-five percent of respondents indicated that there is at least one benefit of the arts to their neighbourhood, including “engaging young people” (57%), “making my neighbourhood a great place to live” (55%), “bringing neighbours together” (51%), “creating a stronger sense of community in my neighbourhood” (50%), “supporting local businesses (restaurants, stores, etc.)” (49%), and “engaging seniors” (45%).

Other survey findings include:

  • 81% of respondents believe that arts education programs in schools are important.
  • 80% indicated that that opportunities for children to participate in the arts are important.
  • 76% believe that opportunities for families to attend arts events in their own neighbourhood are important.
  • 74% noted that exposure to the arts at an early age is important.
  • 74% agreed that “professional artists have a job like anyone else and deserve appropriate compensation”
  • 72% agreed that “professional artists add value to society”.
  • 69% indicated an appreciation for the contribution that Toronto artists make to the city.

The survey found that 71% of those who responded “are regular attendees of the arts”. However, barriers to arts attendance were cited by 87% of respondents, with the most common barriers involving cost (63%), being too busy (40%), and the arts being too far from their residence (30%).

Regarding arts funding, 60% of respondents indicated that “support for the arts in Toronto should be a priority for local businesses” and 57% believe that “funding for the arts in Toronto should be a priority for local government”.

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