Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Art galleries, visual arts, museums and heritage

Each year, the Center for the Future of Museums highlights trends that they believe are of significance to museums, based on their scanning and analysis. In 2017, these trends related to empathy, civil rights, artificial intelligence, involuntary migration, and agile design. Each essay outlines the theme, implications for society, implications for museums, and existing museum examples.

(La fréquentation des institutions muséales en 2016 et 2017, optique culture no 60)

Based on survey responses from 406 Quebec-based heritage organizations, this report focuses on attendance at museums, interpretive centres, and exhibition spaces (excluding artist-run centres). In 2017, total attendance was 15.9 million, which the report notes is a record level that “might be partially attributed to activities associated with Montreal’s 375th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation”.

Based on an online survey as well as data from the Canada Revenue Agency, this report summarizes national and provincial data on heritage institutions in 2015.The total revenues of heritage organizations were estimated at $2.53 billion in 2015, a 29% increase from 2011 (figures have not been adjusted for inflation).

Based on data from various American sources including the National Awareness, Attitudes, and Usage Study from IMPACTS Research and Development, this brief research post indicates that “there is a long lead time in peoples’ intent to visit cultural organizations – even for locals”. On the other hand, “the time between a ticket purchase and redemption is very quick”.

Culture Track Canada summarizes survey findings related to Canadian cultural consumers’ engagement and their “attitudes, motivators, and barriers to participation”. A key finding of the survey is that Canadians “are true cultural omnivores”, with at least one-half of cultural consumers participating in activities such as community festivals (73%), food and drink experiences (68%), historic attractions or museums (66%), zoos or aquariums (66%), music festivals (56%), variety or comedy shows (55%), science, innovation, or technology museums (54%), natural history museums (52%), public art (51%), and plays (50%).

Using the product perspective, Statistics Canada estimates that the direct economic impact of culture products was $53.8 billion in Canada in 2016, or 2.8% of overall GDP. The employment estimate was 652,400 in 2016, or 3.5% of the 18.5 million jobs in the country.

This brief article, based on data from various American sources, argues that “cultural organizations are not (primarily) asking for money when they aim to secure visitation. Cultural organizations are asking for an investment of time – and that is much more complicated and a bigger ask than many leaders may realize.”

Based on a survey of more than 2,000 Canadians (including substantial samples of youth and Indigenous residents), this report highlights information about arts and heritage attendance, personal arts participation, as well as perceptions of cultural activities and government arts support. The report concludes that there is “robust public engagement with arts and culture in Canada”.

This report, based on a survey of 210 American art museums in 2016 that followed up on issues uncovered in a similar survey in 2013, finds that a “gender gap persists” in art museums, despite “incremental gains in some areas of pay and employment representation”. Of the 210 responses from art museum directors in 2016, 100 were female (48%). While women direct most of the museums with budgets below $15 million (54%), female directors represent one-third or less of all museum directors in larger institutions.

Given the “severe lack of hard data” on diversity in Canadian art galleries, the author of this report, with assistance from anonymous collaborators, created a dataset of the diversity in select leadership positions in 80 galleries that have received core funding from the Canada Council for the Arts (as well as the separately-funded National Gallery of Canada). The resulting statistics indicate that “gallery management is whiter than Canadian [visual] artists in particular, and the Canadian public in general”. Regarding gender equity, the report finds that “women dominate Canada’s art field” but their majority is weakest in its top echelons.