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Public perception of the arts and culture in Quebec

(Les arts et la culture au Québec : Portrait de la perception des Québécois)

August 23, 201723 August 2017

Public perception of the arts and culture

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Based on an online survey of 1,410 Quebec residents (18 and older) in September 2015, this report highlights the public’s perceptions of artists, their role in society, impacts of the cultural sector, and the governmental role in supporting culture. In general, 77% of respondents believe that the arts and culture are important to them. Annual arts participation rates are 78% for cinemas, 71% for the performing arts, and 49% for museums.

Public perceptions of artists are, according to the report, quite accurate. A large majority of respondents (81%) believe that less than one-half of artists are able to live off the proceeds of their art. Most respondents agree that an artist is “someone who considers their artistic practice as an essential element of their life”. This option received the highest average score of a series of similar questions (7.6 on a scale of 0 to 10). On the other hand, very few respondents believe that an artist is “someone who practices their art while sponging off society” (average score of just 3.4).

Nearly nine in ten respondents (87%) believe that “the work of artists is useful for Quebec society”. The report asked the same question about specific arts occupations: 91% of respondents consider the work of actors, musicians, and writers to be useful to society. Other arts occupations received strong responses as well, including singers (89%), comedians (83%), painters (79%), animators (78%), dancers (75%), and sculptors (70%).

Concerning the impact of Quebec’s cultural sector, the survey found that “two-thirds of respondents (65%) consider that the arts and culture has a significant economic contribution” in the province. More generally, most respondents believe that Quebec culture:

  • Is creative (67% of respondents)
  • Is distinct from other North American cultures (64%)
  • Inspires pride (64%)
  • Is interesting (63%)
  • Is original (62%)
  • Is dynamic (61%)
  • Appropriately represents Quebec’s cultural diversity (61%)
  • Offers products that are distinct from each other (60%)
  • Shines internationally (60%)
  • Is competitive with foreign creation (60%)
  • Is avant-garde (58%)

Regarding the government role in the cultural sector, 65% of respondents believe that government funding of the arts is an “investment” rather than an “expense”. When asked to choose three priorities for government funding, respondents most commonly selected film (49%), television (47%), and festivals (44%), followed by theatre (29%), museums (also 29%), song (28%), and symphony orchestras (16%).

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