This review article, a work in progress from an American cultural research group, evaluates and summarizes evidence regarding the benefits of the arts for individuals. The researchers examine research evidence in four categories: physical and mental health; education and personal development; economic vitality; and social cohesion. While the researchers recognize that existing research is not definitive, they do conclude that “arts participation really does improve lives”.
Summarizing secondary research into the value of the arts and arts education, this report from the United Kingdom finds that “arts and culture are a life-enhancing and essential part of our existence". An accompanying report (Key Research Findings: The Case for Cultural Learning) provides further details about the research highlighted in ImagineNation.
Two recent reports about the arts and culture in the Alberta Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (i.e., Fort McMurray and area) resulted from three research streams: 1) a telephone survey of a representative sample of local residents; 2) an internet survey of local artists and arts organizations; and 3) a literature review regarding the arts and regeneration after a disaster.
The Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) looks beyond the key national economic indicator (Gross Domestic Product, or GDP) to attempt to measure “those areas of our lives that we care about the most, like education, health, the environment, and the relationships we have with others”. The health of leisure and culture is estimated using eight indicators, five of which relate to the arts, culture, and heritage.
This series of research projects included three primary research endeavours: 1) a comparison of the finances of 19 B.C. arts, culture, and heritage organizations with 38 “peer” organizations in other provinces; 2) analysis of a province-wide survey of arts, culture, and heritage organizations; and 3) a summary of 14 qualitative interviews “related to human resources, community engagement and impacts, diversity, the entrepreneurial nature of B.C. arts organizations, and the nature of success for different groups”.
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”.
Using a social return on investment framework, this report assesses the impacts of the $1.9 billion in public and private investment in over 1,400 Illinois not-for-profit organizations working in the arts and culture. The headline finding is that “every dollar invested into the Illinois nonprofit arts and culture field generates an estimated $27 in socio-economic value”. Two similar studies from Australia examined the social returns of a community arts project in Western Australia that tries to connect Aboriginal youth with their language and culture and a program offering film workshops for youth.
This report summarizes the findings of 70 specially-commissioned research studies regarding the value of culture in the United Kingdom – “the difference to individuals, society and the economy that engagement with arts and culture makes”. Working outwards from the individual experience of culture, the report outlines many components of cultural value.
Based on a survey of 702 adults in Western Australia, this article shows that people who had high arts engagement (i.e., at least 100 hours per year) reported better mental health than people who participated less frequently or not at all, even after adjusting for other potential factors in mental health.
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).