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.”
This recent report from Quebec’s cultural observatory analyzes performances, paid attendance, and box office revenues related to theatre, dance, music, comedy, circus, and magic performances in 2016, based on a census of Quebec-based performing arts presenters. The 17,200 performances with an admission fee in Quebec in 2016 (a 1% increase from 2009) attracted 7.1 million paid attendees (a 5% decrease from 2009).
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”.
Based on a “national mapping of the publicly available programs of 135 mainstream presenters across Australia” in 2015 as well as a custom survey of 44 presenters and interviews with 40 performing arts producers and presenters, this report outlines “the level and types of First Nations performing arts programming in Australia’s mainstream venues and festivals; the presenting of works to audiences; and the motivations and obstacles for presenters and producers”. The key finding of the mapping exercise is that “First Nations performing arts are under-represented in Australia’s mainstream venues and festivals”, comprising only 2% of the nearly 6,000 works that were programmed in 2015.
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 five research streams (two online public surveys, two sets of focus groups, and key informant interviews), this report summarizes the “current attitudes of English-speaking Canadians about the cultural and economic value of written work”. Many English Canadians spend a significant proportion of their leisure time reading: 80% spend about five to eight hours reading each week, “representing about one-quarter of their overall leisure time”. One-half of respondents indicated that they read books in digital formats. Spending on books is about $300 per purchaser per year, or $250 yearly for each English-Canadian adult, including those who did not buy books during the past year.
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.
In a context where “a sizeable group of Canadians” have “identified mediated performance experiences as equal to attending live performances in person”, this report provides an initial assessment of challenges and opportunities related to digital innovation in the performing arts (and for arts presenters in particular). The report indicates that a key question for performing arts presenters is whether and how they will be able to continue to play a role as intermediaries between artists and audiences in a fully digital realm.