Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Other topics

Needs and Supports of Canadian and US Ethnocultural Arts Organizations

This 358-page report presents a number of findings concerning “the characteristics, needs, and support systems” of “ethnocultural arts organizations”. The report is based on a literature review, data collection and analysis from existing sources (such as the Canada Revenue Agency), an assessment of organizations’ needs (using results from a custom survey of ethnocultural arts organizations as well as interviews with representatives of 55 Canadian and 83 American organizations), an assessment of support programs dedicated to diverse organizations (by 95 Canadian arts service organizations and funders), and an analysis of gaps in these supports (based on a comparison of organizations’ needs and existing supports).

While 59% of Canadians had volunteered at some point in their lives, 44% did so in 2013. For the 12.7 million volunteers in 2013, the most common activities include organizing events (46% of all volunteers participated in this activity), fundraising (45%), and sitting on a committee or board (33%)

Based on the General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering, and Participating, this article highlights the gifts of time and money made by individuals to all types of not-for-profit organizations in 2013. Overall, 44% of Canadians volunteered a total of 1.96 billion hours in not-for-profit organizations in 2013, “equivalent to about 1 million full-time jobs”. Regarding donating, the article finds that 82% of Canadians donated a total of $12.8 billion to not-for-profit organizations in 2013.

A key finding of this report, which delves into statistics on arts and culture volunteers and donors, is that there were “1 million donors and 900,000 volunteers in arts and culture organizations” in 2013.

This report argues that “public trust is of central importance to Canadian charities. It underpins many key relationships: with donors, volunteers, clients, policymakers, regulators, and corporate sponsors.” Based on a telephone survey of 3,853 Canadians 18 years or older, the report finds that 79% of respondents have "a lot" or "some" trust in charities. Trust in arts charities ranks eighth out of 11 types of charities, with 60% of Canadians indicating that they have a lot (19%) or some (41%) trust in arts charities.

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.

Based on the 2012 U.S. General Social Survey, this report provides a detailed examination of the motivations of arts attendees (the 54% of Americans who attended at least one exhibition or performance during the previous year) and the barriers facing “interested non-attendees” (the 13% who did not attend a visual or performing arts event during the previous year but wanted to go to at least one exhibition or live performance).

Using official filings of arts and culture charities with at least $50,000 in revenues, this American report examines the sustainability of organizations between 1990 and 2010 in six metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, and San Francisco. For every arts and culture organization in 1990, there were 1.7 organizations in 2000 and 2.3 organizations in 2010.