June 20 saw the release of Culture Track: Canada, a national survey conducted by Business for the Arts, building on LaPlaca Cohen's Culture Track initiative, gauging cultural consumers’ attitudes, motivators, and barriers to participation. The bilingual survey was conducted online and polled 6,444 cultural consumers nationwide.
Among the key findings:
- Canadians are "cultural omnivores," and are interested in consuming a variety of cultural experiences. Those events with most appeal centre around ideas of community (forging new bonds with friends and neighbours), connection (feeling a greater sense of understanding and empathy) and discovery (exposure to new experiences and ideas). But the greatest motivation for participants in cultural activities? "Having fun."
- When asked to report on barriers to participation, the most likely reason a person might stay away from a cultural activity is, "It's not for someone like me." Ideas of personal relevance are critical to inviting cultural event participation. Specifically, Indigenous people and people of colour are 65% more likely to stay away from events which did not reflect a range of backgrounds.
- Audiences are divided on how—and whether—technology should play a role in the cultural experience. While proponents of digital components to cultural experiences appreciate the ability to access more detailed info and revisit the experience later on, supporters of a more analogue approach find their experiences more accessible and authentic.
- Audiences report personal affinities for a wide variety of organizations including banks, charities and sports teams, but only 21% of respondents report a personal connection to a cultural organization. Their primary motivations for joining "cultural loyalty programs" centre around exposure to new experiences and the sense that their money is going to a good cause. Parents are 60% more likely to join a culture loyalty program, and millennial audiences are twice as likely to show their support via social media.
- The perception of governmental support is a crucial reason why audiences don’t donate to culture. Thirty percent of audiences who don't donate to cultural causes feel their taxes already sufficiently supported arts and culture. The most crucial component in donating to cultural causes is a sense of social impact.