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

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.

Based on a custom-designed 2016 Survey of the Inuit Arts Economy and Statistics Canada’s 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, this report outlines the economic impacts of Inuit arts in Canada. Overall, the report finds that “the Inuit arts economy contributed $87.2 million” to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and “sustained over 2,700 full time equivalent jobs” in 2016.

Based on a survey of digital marketing in 130 American arts organizations, this report indicates that “organizations invested more in digital [in 2015], but challenges around funding and expertise limited digital effectiveness”. Theatres were the largest group of respondents (34%), followed by presenting organizations (22%) and museums (12%). Previous iterations of the survey covered performing arts organizations only. The survey found that 80% of responding organizations had redesigned their website within the past three years and that 51% of respondents’ tickets were sold online.

This American report highlights findings from a “convening” of about 50 museum and education practitioners, funders, and policy experts, which had the goal of launching “a national dialogue about the future of education and how leaders from the worlds of education and museums can work together to integrate the nation’s educational assets into a vibrant learning grid”. A “vibrant learning grid” would be “a flexible and radically personalized learning ecosystem that meets the needs of all learners”.

(La fréquentation des institutions muséales au Québec en 2014 et 2015, optique culture no 48)

This report highlights attendance statistics at 422 Quebec museums, interpretive centres, and exhibition spaces (excluding artist-run centres). In 2015, total attendance was 14.0 million, slightly below the record level from 2013 (14.2 million). The report notes that school attendance showed a recent decrease, falling from over 1 million in previous years to 843,000 in 2015.

This aggregate profile of 184 Ontario museums “identifies the realities of operating museums in Ontario today” and provides “compelling evidence to demonstrate museum impacts and their economic, social and cultural contributions to Ontario’s communities”. The 184 Ontario museums responded to a survey designed and conducted by the Ontario Museum Association (OMA) in 2014-2015, and the survey results were analyzed by Hill Strategies Research Inc.

This Canadian survey, conducted in 2015 and capturing data from 2013, is intended “to provide aggregate data to governments and cultural associations in order to gain a better understanding of not-for-profit heritage institutions and to aid in the development of policies and the conduct of programs”. The total revenues of heritage organizations were estimated at $2.12 billion in 2013, a 2.9% increase from 2011 (figures not adjusted for inflation). Total expenditures were $1.97 billion, resulting in an operating surplus equivalent to 3.7% of total revenues in 2013.