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Creating a Framework for Cultural Vitality
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Links to a host of studies that provide background on the project. To read more, click the links.

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Value and Impact of Arts and Culture—Societal Impact:
Selected Studies

Economic Impact
Arts & Community
Arts & Education
Arts & Health
Current Trends

A young patient enjoys percussion lessons through the Snow City Arts program at Rush University Children's Hospital in Chicago, IL. Photo from the Arts in Healthcare Report.

Photo from the Arts in Healthcare Report.

. . .

Bloodlines, a piece b y MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americano) artist in residence, Jane Castillo, in which community members embroidered family names onto fabric, 2010. Photo: Robertino Ragazza. From the Building Worlds Together study.

  • The Economic Impact of Arts and Culture:

    • The Santa Barbara Arts and Economic Prosperity Report, 2017

      • Per the Americans for the Arts' Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 report, the 95 participating county nonprofit arts organizations supported 5,857 jobs and generated almost $200 million dollars, delivering $19.1 million in local and state government revenue. Arts and Culture contribute significantly to the success of our local economy.

      • 1 page summary

      • Full report on Santa Barbara

      • To compare, you can view The Report from the 2012 Survey

    • 2014 Otis Report on the Creative Economy, California.

      • Creative Industry output nearly $293.8 Billion​

      • Creative Industry jobs in California: 1,477,100 (direct, indirect, induced)

      • Direct employment in California's creative
        industries, 694,900 exceeding:

        • Computer/electronic manufacturing (262,900)

        • Hospital workers (371,600)

    • New Engines for Growth: Five Roles for Arts, Culture, & Design. National Governor's Association, 2012​

    • The Creative Economy

      • In a now-classic study, the New England Council defined the “creative economy” and examined the importance of arts and culture in contributing to a region’s quality of life. This report was updated in 2007.

    • How Cities Can Nurture Cultural Entrepreneurs

      • This policy brief summarizes reasons for and variations in new initiatives to spark cultural entrepreneurship, providing a menu of options for cities of all sizes and character.

      • Policy Options:

        • Encourage convening and equipment-sharing artists’ centers

        • Develop sustainable artist studio and live/work buildings

        • Provide entrepreneurial training tailored to artists and designers

        • Build networking and marketing opportunities for artists

        • Embed artists in city development strategies

  • How the Arts Build Community

    • Arts and Intra-Community Strength. 2015. Americans for the Arts.

      • As the United States continues to diversify, people will continue to grapple with how to strengthen their geographically based communities while also maintaining and strengthening connections to their identity-based communities. The arts will continue a long tradition of providing ways for individuals to express the nuance and complexity of this identity.

    • Arts and Inter-Community Connection. 2015. Americans for the Arts.

      • This essay looks at America’s changing communities and how they
        have and will interact with each other, as well as the role that the
        arts may play in positively impacting those changes.

      • Creative deployment of the arts and artists will increase connections and understandings across disparate and historically unequal groups; provide opportunities for a more even-footed conversation; and build agency for marginalized communities to create, maintain, and share their own narratives.

    • Civic Engagement and the Arts : Issues of Conceptualization and Measurement. 2009. Americans for the Arts.

      • If you are seeking to understand better how the arts can improve civic engagement, this is a good place to start.

      • An overview of conceptual models for arts-based civic engagement, including the artist as provocateur, civic ritual and construction of community, public art, public space, and place-making, and the arts as social inclusion strategy.

    • Building Worlds Together: The Many Functions and Forms of Arts and Community Development. 2011. Americans for the Arts.

      • In this paper, Lyz Crane draws on the work of practitioners and researchers to characterize the field of arts-based community development and place-based change.

    • Arts & Kindness. 2012. People United, UK.

      • Examines the potential of the arts to be at the heart of strengthening our capacity for empathy, friendship, social bonds and concern for others, including future generations.

    • Cultural Tourism. 2015. Americans for the Arts.

      • The importance of the tourism industry—especially cultural tourism—continues to grow.  Find out how to capitalize on the potential for economic growth as well as visibility for the unique cultural elements that define your community.

  • Arts and Education

    • Impacts/Benefits

    • Current State

      • The Arts Education Data Project, California.

        • A excellent place to get a picture of the current state of arts education in California.​ A comprehensive database, with interactive charts, maps, and graphs, of 2014/2015 school year arts education data from the California Department of Education. Please note, the data includes schools with grades 6 through 12 only. 

        • The data is divisible by county and district, discipline, and many other areas.

      • Inequality in Access to Arts Education. 2015

        • The arts continue to struggle with providing equal access across the racial and ethnic diversity of our nation.

      • Uneven Arts Education Opportunities Nationwide. 2014

        • How does arts education fare in our nation’s public schools?  The answer—unevenly—is explored here, along with more specific information on the disciplines we provide—and what kinds of schools provide them at all.

  • Arts & Health

    • Artful Living: Examining the Relationship between Artistic Practice and Subjective Wellbeing Across Three National Surveys. 2014

      • Explores the hypothesis that the arts are essential to a high quality of life. Examining data from three national surveys, the authors find strong evidence that artistic and creative practice is associated with wellbeing.

    • Arts in Healthcare, State of the Field Report. 2014​​

      • A thorough examination of the state of the field, including the prevalence of art programs, a sampling of research findings on the benefits of such programs, and recommendations for the future.

    • Arts Programs in U.S. Hospitals. 2008.

      • Short fact sheet benefits of and prevalence of arts in healthcare programs. 

    • The Arts and Aging: Building the Science. 2013

      • Lifelong music training is associated with many effects among older people, including improved memory and hearing. 

      • The design of residential buildings for older people can affect the amount and quality of social interaction, physical activity, cognitive stimulation, and emotional well-being of residents. 

      • Visual arts have been used in healthcare for centuries and are now a staple in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities.

Building Connections: Walls of Identity, Walls of Pride paired muralists Ernel Martinez and Shira Walinsky with teens at the E3 Power Centers run by the City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services. Photo: Jack Ramsdale. From the Building Worlds Together study.

Artist Shaun “El Conquistador” Leonardo at the ring in Corona Plaza for his finale lucha libre wrestling performance as part of Queen’s Museum’s public art project Corona Plaza, Center of Everywhere. Photo: Courtesy The Queens Museum of Art. From the Building Worlds Together study.

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Current Trends in Arts & Culture

  • The Cultural Lives of Californians. 2015.

    • "Reframes the conversation about arts participation and provides extraordinary insights on the critical role that arts nonprofits can play in communities."

    • "This data challenges the notion that arts participation is in decline, instead suggesting that Californians are engaging in art in new ways and places — a reflection of emerging technologies, expectations, and cultural norms. Report findings point to questions and opportunities for nonprofit arts organizations, funders, and sector leaders to boost their relevance to the state’s increasingly diverse and changing population and to bring the benefit of the arts to all Californians."

  • When Going Gets Tough: Barriers and Motivations Affecting Arts Attendance​. 2015.

    • This report examines demographic and socio-economic characteristics of adults who attended visual and performing arts activities in 2012, and it offers fascinating insights into the attitudes, motivations, and barriers concerning arts attendance. 

  • Arts and Public Engagement: Patterns, Processes and Levers for Change2008

    • Arts and Public Engagement' was commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales in order to identify reasons for a general decline in the arts, and in particular lower levels of participation in deprived areas.

  • A Decade of Arts Engagement: Findings From the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, 2002–20122015.

    • This report synthesizes findings across several modes of arts participation to show how many American adults--and from which backgrounds--have engaged in art throughout the decade of 2002 to 2012.

    • “Since 2002, adult attendance rates have declined for a core set of
      arts activities tracked consistently by the NEA. Thirty-three percent
      of adults attended one of those selected activities in 2012, compared
      with 39 percent a decade earlier. The declines were steepest for
      non-Hispanic whites, adults from 35 to 54 years of age, and higher
      educated adults (those with at least ‘some’ college education).”

    • "The report also found that attendance at so-called 'benchmark' arts events and activities (e.g., musical and non-musical plays, visits to an art museum or gallery, opera or classical music concerts, etc.) was not 'a comprehensive indicator of arts participation.' In fact, the percentage of Americans involved in everyday activities that connect with arts and culture (e.g., using electronic media to watch or listen to art, or performing, editing, or remixing art) was generally much higher than the percentage of Americans engaged in 'benchmark' activities and events.​"

Project funded by

the Santa Barbara Foundation


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