Arts + Social Impact Explorer
IssueSocial benefits of the arts
Americans for the Arts
Americans for the Arts has created an online research tool that compiles and categorizes a large body of evidence on the social impacts of the arts. The “Arts and Social Impact Explorer” is structured as a pinwheel with 10 main topics, which are divided into 26 sub-topics (as shown in the table below). Users can click on a sub-topic to download a brief fact sheet containing a research summary, links to several case studies, and a list for further reading.
|Culture and heritage||History, traditions & heritage
Diversity, equity, access & inclusion
|Health and wellness||Health and wellness
Prisons and rehabilitation
|Environment||Environment and sustainability|
|Faith||Religion and spiritual well-being|
|Infrastructure||Agriculture and food
|Education||Education and youth development
|Social justice||Civic dialogue
|Innovation||Technology and innovation|
For example, in the health and wellness section, the livability fact sheet defines livability as encompassing economic, architectural, and cultural factors, as well as intangibles such as community resilience and citizen engagement. Highlighted research shows that “participation in cultural activities leads to wider community participation and a greater propensity to volunteer” and that “creative placemaking projects positively affect residents’ feelings about their neighborhoods”. Case study examples include the Southeast Houston Arts Initiative that sought to “transform its community through improvements to the physical environment by cultural expression projects”.
In the social justice section, the fact sheet on community cohesion indicates that “arts participation contributes to social cohesion by reducing isolation, encouraging cooperation, and building community networks”. Other cited studies point to the ability of the arts to bridge language barriers and unite disparate groups.