Summarizing existing research studies and incorporating new analyses of existing statistical sources, the core argument of this report is that arts “participation builds belonging”, which can be defined as how people connect with others and engage with their communities. The report attempts to provide “compelling data and stories that demonstrate the power of the arts to build a greater sense of belonging to our communities, to our country, and to each other”.

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.

An Assessment of Opportunities, Issues and Challenges

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.

Survey Data Report

Based on a survey completed by 907 arts organizations and 2,680 artists in Canada, this report examines “the impact of digital technologies on the creation, dissemination and business practices of individual artists and arts organizations in Canada”. In general, most respondents self-identified as “comfortable” or “very comfortable” using digital technologies (71% of organizations and 60% of artists). Just over one-third of arts organizations (38%) and one-half of artists (54%) have created “digital-first” works of art.

Based on a survey of over 14,000 attendees at performances by 23 choirs (including the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and 22 American choruses), this report examines the experiences of audiences at live choral concerts. The goal of the research was to spur “critical reflection on how audiences construct meaning and memory from concerts of choral music, and how choruses can curate impacts through thoughtful program design”.

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.

Based on a literature review, existing statistics, two focus groups, and a targeted survey of 30 stakeholders, this report examines “the patterns of attendance and cultural participation by young people in the theatre for young audiences (TYA) and the children’s festival sector in Canada”.