Today, the Ontario Arts Council released the results of its latest arts engagement study. You can read the summary here and the full report here.
Here's what I found interesting in the study results:
- Almost all Ontarians could cite at least one arts activity that they’d like to do more frequently in the future - and the number-one pick for arts activity they'd like to do more frequently was to "Paint, draw or make other original art." So to me it seems important that art institutions need get involved in helping adults and children actually engage in making art. This includes partnering with the school system to get kids making art at a young age.
- Overall, the home is the predominant setting for engaging in music (89%), dance (51%) and visual arts (71%) activities. This is consistent with other research suggesting that the home is the foundational setting for arts activities of all sorts. So how can art museums and galleries reach into homes? Maybe by getting on board with online exhibitions as an endeavour that's just as seriously undertaken as producing beautiful catalogues that few people will purchase and fewer, read? Or, um, something?
- Half of Ontarians visit art museums and galleries at some level, although half of all activity around museums is held within only 20% of the population. This is the steepest audience-distribution relationship among all arts activities in the study! To me, this also goes a long way to demonstrating how intimidating it might be for people not in that 20% to actually visit art museums and galleries -- could be easy to feel like an outsider.
- As might be expected, ‘watch movies on computer, TV or DVD’ is by far the most prevalent of all visual arts, crafts and film activities, with 61% doing it ‘at least once a week,’ and another 28% ‘at least once a month.’ Somehow, this made me wonder why watching TV didn't count as a cultural activity in itself. There are a lot of crap movies out there, as well as some good TV. Just sayin'.
- Reading in general exhibits the highest frequency and salience index scores overall. Salience for ‘accessing books through a local library’ is higher than frequency, suggesting that although not typically thought of as a creative act, going to the library to seek out reading material is a highly valued activity. The study suggests that, as a result, libraries are "a natural partner for arts organizations to increase outreach and expand programming." To this, I say, word. It's time for the NGC, the AGO, the ROM, the Power Plant and other publicly funded galleries to start considering how they can reach out through library branches. I've seen some workshops in the past, but I feel like more work is needed.
- 95% of Ontarians said they would like to be doing more arts activities than they are doing now. Well, that's kind of heartwarming. And I also like that the study has included "going out dancing" as an arts activity. I'd like to do more of that too.
(Generic I'm-learning-from-stats image via Hope for the Sold)