Social impacts of the arts

Volume: 9 Issue: 9

Legacy ID (armUID): 
In this issue: Five reports from Canada and the US on the relationship between the arts and the quality of life, the correlation between arts participation and civic and social engagement, the potential relationship between video games and the civic engagement of teenagers, differences in happiness among Canadians, as well as an exploration of the measurement of social impacts.
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  • Based on a telephone survey of 1,000 adult Ontarians, this report highlights public perceptions regarding the value and benefits of the arts. Comparisons are provided with a similar survey conducted in 1994.

  • This report examines correlations between participation in the arts and potential civic benefits, based on data from the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, which had a sample of more than 18,000 Americans 18 years of age or older. The survey results show that adults who attend art galleries, attend live performances, or read literature are more likely than non-attendees or non-readers to vote, volunteer and take part in community events.

  • This survey of 1,102 American youth between 12 and 17 years of age found that 97% of teens play computer, web, portable or console games. Teens' gaming experiences were found to be rich and varied, with "significant social interaction and civic engagement".

  • Noting that "Canada has consistently ranked as one of the happiest nations in the world", this report indicates that, on a scale from one to five, the average self-assessed rating of the happiness of Canadians is 4.26. Within Canada, happiness is highest on Prince Edward Island (4.33) and lowest in Ontario (4.23) and British Columbia (4.24). Among Census Metropolitan Areas, average happiness is highest in Sherbrooke (4.37), Brantford (4.36), and Trois-Rivières (4.35) and lowest in Toronto (4.15) and Vancouver (4.20).

  • This report explores possibilities for measuring the social impacts of organizations' activities, despite challenges such as "the lack of a common measure of how much good has been done" and the lack of an "agreed unit of social impact" that might be equivalent to financial metrics used in market transactions.