Reports on Support of the Arts, Economic and Social Benefits

The latest edition of Arts Research Monitor from Hill Strategies Research includes summaries of recent reports that examine business support for the arts in Canada, perceptions of businesses and the public regarding supporting the arts, the social and economic benefits of arts organizations in Alberta, the long-term economic impacts of the arts in American metropolitan areas, and potential indicators of the benefits of the arts for community livability. 

Click each report title to read more. 

Canadians Value Companies that Support the Arts
Results of Business for the Arts’ 2014 Research Initiative
Business For the Arts, November 2014

As the report’s title indicates, one of the key findings of this presentation of ongoing research is that many Canadians look favourably on companies that support the arts. A public survey found that 52% of respondents “feel more favourably towards businesses that support arts and culture”.

Arts Impact Alberta 2014
Ripple Effects from the Arts Sector
Alberta Foundation for the Arts, April 2014

This report examines the benefits “for people, communities and the economy” of arts organizations receiving operating funding from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) over a seven year period (2006-2013). In addition to statistics from operating funding recipients, the report includes statistics from other sources, such as a public survey that was conducted in the province.

Culture Shocks and Consequences
The causal link between the arts and economic growth
National Endowment for the Arts, August 2013

Using historical data from 384 American metropolitan areas, the exploratory research in this report examines whether an increase in the spending of local not-for-profit arts and culture organizations has a long-term, positive impact on the local economy. The empirical data lead the researchers to conclude that there is a positive relationship between per capita cultural production and per capita GDP, resulting in “a permanent increase in per capita GDP”. (The authors note that, “in the context of our model, asking whether cultural spending ‘causes’ economic prosperity is asking whether transitory innovations or ‘shocks’ [in cultural production] … cause permanent changes” to per capita GDP.)

The Validating Arts & Livability Indicators (VALI) Study
Results and Recommendations
National Endowment for the Arts, April 2014

Based on site visits of grant recipients from the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Our Town” initiative, a one-day session with other grant recipients, and a focus group with creative placemaking experts, this report examines the usefulness of 23 potential indicators of the contribution of the arts and culture to quality of place and community livability. The report defines creative placemaking as processes where “partners from public, private, non-profit and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city or region around arts and cultural activities”.


The Arts Research Monitor, created by Hill Strategies Research in 2002, provides synopses of qualitative and quantitative research findings in the arts and culture. The Monitor should be useful to artists, arts managers, funders, policy makers, researchers and others with an interest in learning more about the arts and culture. The Arts Research Monitor is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. To read previous issues, visit hillstrategies.com/resources/arts-research-monitor.

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