Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Benefits & Impacts

Reviewing 400 research reports related to the neurochemistry of music, this article indicates that there is “promising, yet preliminary” evidence that music has positive effects on “(i) reward, motivation, and pleasure; (ii) stress and arousal; (iii) immunity; and (iv) social affiliation”.

Fifteen reports on “how engagement in the arts – as an audience member and/or practitioner – affects our physical and psychological health over time” are examined in this detailed review article, which concludes that “engagement in the arts is generally shown to have a positive impact upon the body’s physiology, in turn improving health and quality of life”.

Presentation hosted by Arts Health Network Canada and CH-NET Works! (a project of the Canadian Health Human Resources Network at the University of Ottawa)

This presentation muses as to whether the arts could be a part of a “prescription for health”, in addition to a healthy diet, physical activity, proper health care, and good sleeping habits. The presentation provides a brief review of studies of arts engagement and well-being, and delves into the findings from the 2013 study The Arts and Individual Well-being in Canada.

This brief report highlights the fact that cultural practices are important for “the wellness, health, and healing of Aboriginal peoples and communities”. The report indicates that the arts may have particular importance for Aboriginal Peoples in many ways.

Based on a random telephone survey of 1,000 Canadians commissioned by the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) from Nanos Research in March 2014, this brief report and a summary fact sheet indicate that many Canadians believe in the importance of live theatre in Canadian communities. The survey results show that 84% of Canadians believe that live theatre plays an important or somewhat important role in “making communities across Canada vibrant places to live”.

Based on various Statistics Canada sources, this brief fact sheet examines the number of theatre companies in Canada, their revenues and expenditures, theatre’s contribution to the economy, public spending on tickets, as well as the number and earnings of theatre artists and students.

Results and Recommendations

Based on site visits of grant recipients from the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Our Town” initiative, a one-day session with other grant recipients, and a focus group with creative placemaking experts, this report examines the usefulness of 23 potential indicators of the contribution of the arts and culture to quality of place and community livability. The report defines creative placemaking as processes where “partners from public, private, non-profit and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city or region around arts and cultural activities”.

The causal link between the arts and economic growth

Using historical data from 384 American metropolitan areas, the exploratory research in this report examines whether an increase in the spending of local not-for-profit arts and culture organizations has a long-term, positive impact on the local economy. The empirical data lead the researchers to conclude that there is a positive relationship between per capita cultural production and per capita GDP, resulting in “a permanent increase in per capita GDP”. (The authors note that, “in the context of our model, asking whether cultural spending ‘causes’ economic prosperity is asking whether transitory innovations or ‘shocks’ [in cultural production] … cause permanent changes” to per capita GDP.)

Ripple Effects from the Arts Sector

This report examines the benefits “for people, communities and the economy” of arts organizations receiving operating funding from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) over a seven year period (2006-2013). In addition to statistics from operating funding recipients, the report includes statistics from other sources, such as a public survey that was conducted in the province.

Results of Business for the Arts’ 2014 Research Initiative

As the report’s title indicates, one of the key findings of this presentation of ongoing research is that many Canadians look favourably on companies that support the arts. A public survey found that 52% of respondents “feel more favourably towards businesses that support arts and culture”.