Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Performing arts

Canada Dance Mapping Study

Based on a survey of 367 dance companies, training schools, presenters, and service organizations, this report “aims to provide new knowledge and a more nuanced understanding of the social impact of dance organizations in Canada”. The report defines social impact to include “the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of individuals and communities”.

Statistics Canada's biennial performing arts data provide information about not-for-profit and for-profit organizations in Canada. Operating revenues were $1.91 billion for all performing arts groups in 2014. Not-for-profit performing organizations had $832 million in total revenues in 2014.

This report examines perceptions of the arts and community attractiveness based on surveys of 500 Ontario-based skilled workers and 508 Ontario-based businesses with more than 20 employees. Among skilled workers, 65% of survey respondents were in agreement that “a thriving arts cultural scene is something I would look for when considering moving to a new community” (31% agree + 34% somewhat agree). Similarly, 64% of businesses agreed that “a thriving arts cultural scene is something that makes it (would make it) easier to attract to talent to the community” (35% agree + 29% somewhat agree).

Based on a survey of over 4,000 orchestra attendees and “the largest ever orchestra sales dataset” from 44 American orchestras and one Canadian one (the National Arts Centre Orchestra), this report examines “why people subscribe, why they lapse, and what they might want that is not currently being offered” in current orchestra subscription packages.

Employing a cost-benefit analysis (based on a national consumer survey, venue owner and operator interviews, and secondary data on the sector), this report attempts to provide “a valuation of the economic, social and cultural contribution” of live music in Australia. The headline finding of the report is that, “for every dollar spent on live music in Australia, $3.00 worth of benefits are returned to the wider Australian community”.

Key elements, effective strategies & why it's worth pursuing

This report, based on a literature review, over 40 expert interviews, and two international focus group sessions, aims to provide a “roadmap” for the development of music, especially the commercial music sector, in municipalities of any size, anywhere in the world. The report outlines five essential elements of “music cities”:

  • The presence of “artists and musicians;
  • A thriving music scene;
  • Access to spaces and places;
  • A receptive and engaged audience; and
  • Record labels and other music-related businesses”.

Based largely on a survey of 372 companies in Ontario’s live music sector, this report attempts to identify the impacts of live music on Ontario’s economy, employment, and communities. The report also endeavours to serve as a benchmark for the measurement of changes in the live music sector.

Based largely on data from 48 cultural organizations that offer regularly scheduled free days, this article argues that “free days often do the very opposite of mission work”, in that they tend to attract higher income individuals who probably would have come (back) to the organization anyway.

It’s not just the price of admission that’s keeping poor and less-educated adults away from arts events

This article, based on a variety of reports and data sources, indicates that “there is a significant proportion of economically disadvantaged people who do not take the initiative to experience the arts, even when time and cost are not issues.” Furthermore, the article argues that “a lack of explicit interest is far and away the dominant factor keeping low-SES [socioeconomic status] populations away from arts events”. Low socioeconomic status is defined “as those with at most a high school education and in the bottom half of the income distribution in the United States”.

A Synthesis of Literature and Expert Interviews

This literature review, originally created as part of a California arts participation study, explores how people participate in the arts, who participates, where participation happens, as well as motivations and barriers to participation.