The Arts and Our Quality of Life


The Multiple Benefits of the Arts to Our Communities

Social cohesion

  • The arts strengthen social bonds, creating common memories and a community in which people want to participate.
  • The arts encourage others to stay in, or move to communities that embrace the arts.
  • The arts can help put a community “on the map” domestically and internationally.
  • The arts create stimulation, celebration and hope. They promote a sense of community identity and express a Canadian identity at home and abroad.


  • The arts provide youth motivation, self-discipline, self-criticism, self-efficacy and the ability to work in a team.
  • The arts build social bonds and improve self-image, self-regulation, empathy, and tolerance.
  • The arts develop social skills which helps to keep youth out of trouble, and contributes to an enriched society (78% of parents believe that arts programs improve their child’s personal growth).
  • Schools have seen attendance increase and drop out rates decrease among those that participate in the arts.
  • Over 3.6 million youth attended a performing arts production in Canada in 2000-01. Theatre events alone attracted 2.7 million Canadian youth.

Cultural tourism development

  • The arts define a community’s unique characteristics, which attracts tourists.
  • When a community has arts and cultural activities to offer tourists, they stay longer in the area, and thus, spend more.
  • Cultural visitors support a broad range of rural and urban businesses when they purchase meals, gifts, and hotel stays.
  • Domestic traveling involving culture and heritage activities numbered over 14 million leisure trips in 1996, and generated almost $3 billion in spending – roughly one quarter of total spending by Canadian leisure travelers.
  • Tourism centred around arts events, festivals, museums, art galleries, and heritage attractions is big business. Total domestic spending by Canadian cultural tourists exceeds $3 billion, according to a recent Canadian Tourism Commission survey.
  • All sizes of communities benefit from efforts to cultivate and develop cultural offerings for visitors.

Arts experiences as individual enjoyment and enrichment

  • The arts increase individuals’ mental and physical health and well being, while reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Canadians express strong sentiments about the contribution of arts and culture to the quality of life. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents believe the arts are important in terms of enhancing the quality of their lives. Furthermore, 72% disagree with the statement that “having arts and cultural performances, exhibits and festivals does little or nothing for the well-being of a community”.

Job creation/Economic generation

  • The arts create employment for approximately 740,000 people across Canada, generate tax revenue and increase consumer spending.
  • The arts can help maintain and attract a young population.
  • Communities can attract new business and skilled workers through the arts, which impacts the economy and helps communities compete.
  • Artists support local businesses while they spend within their communities (which is usually “green” spending).
  • Strong, creative communities attract business and industry, which bring employment opportunities and add to the wealth of the community.
  • Arts and culture can have a catalyzing role in revitalization and renewal initiatives.
  • Arts and cultural facilities bring economic development and revitalization to neighbourhoods, according to a study by Ryerson University’s Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity.

Development of community pride and identity

  • The arts build a positive atmosphere and create liveable communities.

Sustaining attraction for young people

  • The arts are an effective outreach tool to engage youth.
  • The arts contribute to creating healthy and supportive communities for youth.
  • The arts offer opportunities for youth leadership development and for youth to affect positive change in their communities.

Creativity in Learning

  • Numerous studies have shown that exposure to the arts improves young people’s academic performance/test scores, and also their basic skills and attitudes – producing better students overall.
  • Learning in and through the arts enhances learning in other domains and general scholastic achievementThe arts help in the successful transition to adulthood and the development of in-demand job skills.




Creative Cities Network

Hill Strategies Research

Canadian Conference of the Arts

Saskatchewan Arts Alliance

Statistics Canada