Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Arts attendance & participation

Based on data from various American sources including the National Awareness, Attitudes, and Usage Study from IMPACTS Research and Development, this brief research post indicates that “there is a long lead time in peoples’ intent to visit cultural organizations – even for locals”. On the other hand, “the time between a ticket purchase and redemption is very quick”.

This report aims to provide a “nuanced picture of consumers’ preferences and behavior across a broad cross-section of performing arts organizations”, including four in Canada and 54 in the United States. An online survey in August 2017 received 26,996 responses from performing arts ticket buyers.

Every two years, Statistics Canada provides detailed information about not-for-profit and for-profit (producing) organizations in the performing arts. Operating revenues were $2.16 billion for all performing arts groups in 2016. Operating expenses were $1.90 billion, resulting in a collective operating surplus equivalent to 12.0% of revenues. Not-for-profit performing organizations had total operating revenues of $883 million, slightly lower than operating expenses ($889 million), leaving an operating deficit of 0.7%.

Culture Track Canada summarizes survey findings related to Canadian cultural consumers’ engagement and their “attitudes, motivators, and barriers to participation”. A key finding of the survey is that Canadians “are true cultural omnivores”, with at least one-half of cultural consumers participating in activities such as community festivals (73%), food and drink experiences (68%), historic attractions or museums (66%), zoos or aquariums (66%), music festivals (56%), variety or comedy shows (55%), science, innovation, or technology museums (54%), natural history museums (52%), public art (51%), and plays (50%).

This brief report focuses on a few studies related to the social and economic benefits of cultural engagement. The review found that “people benefit in multiple ways when there is a vibrant arts and culture base in their community and that taking part or engaging in arts and cultural activities1 has certain positive effects on individual well-being”.

2013 Arts Facts using CADAC Data

A brief summary accompanies two longer reports that highlight the situation of 49 media arts presenters and 45 production centres “that receive recurring funding from the Media Arts Section of the Canada Council for the Arts”, based on financial and statistical data reported to CADAC (Canadian Arts Data / Données sur les arts au Canada).

This report estimates that 3.5 million Canadians sang in a choir in 2017, or 10% of the country’s population, based on a public survey of 2,000 Canadians. The report also uses the results of the public survey to estimate that “7.8 million Canadian adults (18 or older) attended a choral performance in 2016”, or 28% of the adult population. The report estimates that there are 27,700 choirs in Canada, the majority of which are church choirs (17,500, or 63%).

Primarily based on a survey of over 7,500 Australians 15 and older (as well as similar surveys in 2009 and 2013), this report outlines key data on Australians’ arts participation, recognition of the value of the arts, and attitudes toward the arts. A key finding of the report is that 98% of Australians engaged with the arts in some way in 2016.

Culture Track summarizes survey findings related to Americans’ cultural engagement as well as the “attitudes, motivators, and barriers to participation”. The top motivators for cultural participation are having fun (chosen by 81% of respondents), interest in the content (78%), experiencing new things (76%), feeling less stressed (also 76%), and learning something new (71%). Across all types of cultural activities, the top barrier to participation is the belief that “it’s not for someone like me”. Survey results indicate that “audiences have different needs and wants at different times – or even simultaneously”.

This international literature review attempts “to better understand whether research has shown that arts experiences of any kind – whether conventional audience experiences or newer “engagement” experiences, learning in the arts, or making art itself – affect civic engagement”. A key finding of the report is that “correlations between arts participation and the motivations and practices of civic engagement are substantial and consistent.” However, “the effects of the arts are likely to be cumulative over significant time and difficult to document: a slow drip rather than a sudden eruption, and easy to take for granted”.