In the last week, the Australia Council for the Arts released the results of a survey detailing national participation in the arts throughout 2016. Connecting Australians collected data from a nationally representative sample of 7537 Australians aged 15+ and is the third in an ongoing series of research, following editions in 2009 and 2013.
The results showed a whopping 98% of Australians engage with the arts, which included attending arts events, exhibitions and festivals; reading; listening to music; sharing and connecting with the arts online, and creating art themselves. The arts encompass theatre, dance, visual arts and craft, music, literature, First Nations and cross-disciplinary work.
Impacts of the arts
Understanding the vital role that arts and culture play in our lives, and in our communities, is essential to ensure it is valued accordingly and a funding environment in which arts and culture can thrive is secured.
86% of Australians now believe the arts have a big or very big impact on our lives. In an increasingly globalised and digitally connected world, with rising levels of inequality and pressing environmental challenges, it is clear from these findings that Australians see the arts as more important than ever.
Australians firmly believe the arts reflect and contribute to society and cultural identity:
- 80% agree Indigenous arts are an important part of Australia’s culture;
- 78% agree artists make an important contribution to our society; and
- 74% agree the arts make a richer and more meaningful life.
More Australians now recognise the many and varied positive impacts of the arts:
- 67% believe the arts impact our ability to think creatively and develop new ideas;
- 64% believe the arts impact our understanding of other people and cultures;
- 60% believe the arts impact our sense of wellbeing and happiness; and
- 58% believe the arts help us to deal with anxiety and depression.
Arts and cultural organisations are using Culture Counts to measure the varied and unique impacts of their own events and programs in an ongoing way. This enables them to tell richer stories about their importance in society, to attract greater support and resources for themselves and the sector.