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Factors in Canadians’ Arts Attendance in 2010

An Analysis of Attendance at Art Galleries, Theatres, Classical Music Performances, Popular Music Performances, and Cultural Festivals

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September 26, 201226 September 2012

This report examines the dynamics of attendance at five arts activities: art galleries, theatres, classical music performances, popular music performances, and cultural festivals. In addition to an analysis of demographic factors, the report provides substantial information about cultural crossovers. The analysis of “cultural crossovers” examines whether participants in one cultural activity are more or less likely to attend other arts activities.

One of the key conclusions of the report is that many cultural activities have an influence on attendance rates at other activities above and beyond demographic factors. In fact, the analysis in the report shows that cultural experiences and exposure appear to be more important factors in arts attendance than demographic factors.

A person’s cultural exposure can affect their likelihood of attending arts activities. For example, someone with less than a secondary school diploma was not very likely to visit an art gallery in 2010: only 20% did so. However, someone with the same level of education who attended a classical concert in 2010 was much more likely to visit an art gallery: 44% did so in 2010. The strength of the cultural crossovers is similar for each of the arts activities examined in this report.

Detailed statistical modeling, which attempts to isolate the effects of individual demographic factors and cultural crossovers, shows that many cultural activities are statistically significant predictors of attendance at other types of activities (keeping other factors constant, such as education, income, age, etc.). All of the cultural activities examined were positively correlated with each other, meaning that many cultural participants attend a range of different activities.

The statistical modeling found that, among demographic factors, education was a very strong factor in attendance at art galleries, classical music performances, and cultural festivals. Household income was a key factor in theatre and pop music attendance.

Previous studies have shown that a person’s childhood arts education is an important factor in adult arts participation. Other studies have examined motivations, values and beliefs related to arts attendance. However, the General Social Survey did not ask respondents about these other potential factors, and, as such, they are not analyzed in this report.

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