Social and economic benefits of the arts and culture

Volume: 15 Issue: 4

In this issue: A focus on the socio-economic benefits of the arts and culture, including a Canadian survey regarding culture and talent attraction, an Australian report on arts participation and mental health, a major synthesis of reports from the United Kingdom on the value of culture, and reports that attempt to measure the social return on investments in the arts and culture.

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Articles

  • 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).

  • A study to quantify the relationship between recreational arts engagement and mental well-being in the general population

    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 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.

  • A Social Return on Investment Analysis

    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.