The Ontario Report – Culture Track: Canada

November 27, 2019

Belonging and Empathy are Key Drivers of Arts Participation in Ontario

Just one of the key takeaways from a study of culture consumers across Ontario released today

TORONTO, Ontario (Nov 27, 2019)  Business / Arts is sharing the findings of Culture Track: Ontario, a study of Ontario’s culture consumers, conducted by New York-based consulting and research firm LaPlaca Cohen and Canadian research firm Nanos Research. Culture Track: Ontario was completed with the support of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC).

Based on interviews with over 1,000 culture-goers across Ontario, the study offers an in-depth look at how Ontarians define and interact with the arts. It provides arts organizations with market research data on cultural consumers in key areas such as motivations and barriers to arts engagement and giving to the arts, preferences for technology, effective communications methods and messages, and more. It serves as a valuable guide to changing audiences and behaviours and offers critical insights on Ontario’s changing cultural landscape.

Key Takeaways from the Findings of Culture Track: Ontario:

  • Ontarians are culture omnivores, and their relationship with culture is purpose-driven. Specifically, they value experiences that ultimately nurture belonging, empathy, and perspective.
  • While fun, novelty and escape are desired attributes of a cultural experience, relevance is a precondition for success. Like audiences across Canada, Ontarians won’t consider participating if they don’t feel connected to the content or experience.
  • Ontario audiences have particularly limited experience with technology in cultural settings and are divided on whether it should even have a role. The opportunity ahead is to reframe digital as a tool to foster deeper connection, rather than a solution unto itself.
  • A fundamental shift has occurred in what individuals seek in committing to organizations — they now value empathy and reciprocity. This new relationship-based approach is replacing transactional models.
  • Ontario audiences are philanthropically active, but culture is rarely their top priority. To generate increased support, a greater emphasis must be placed on measuring and communicating culture’s distinctive social impact, as well as the need for non-governmental funding.

The Ontario study, the first of its kind, was part of Business / Arts’ Culture Track: Canada, a landmark market-research study tracking trends of over 6,000 culture-goers across Canada conducted in 2018.

“We commissioned Culture Track: Canada in response to a general need expressed by arts leaders in Canada to have access to market research data that would help them better understand what motivates Canadians to engage in the arts, how they want to engage in the arts, and what the current barriers are to engagement, ” said Nichole Anderson Bergeron, president & CEO, Business/ Arts, an organization that uses the power of partnership between business, the arts and government to help strengthen the arts across the country and nurture a creative Canada for all to enjoy.

The full Culture Track: Ontario report, including the raw data tables, is available free of charge online at www.businessandarts.org/culturetrack

Survey methodology

On behalf of Business for the Arts, Nanos Research conducted an online survey of 1,012 Ontario residents who have participated in a cultural activity in the last 12 months, 18 years of age or older, between December 21st, 2017 and January 11th, 2018. This was part of a larger national study of 6,400 Canadians who participated in a cultural activity in the last 12 months, 18 years of age or older, between December 21st, 2017 and January 11th, 2018.

The questionnaire for the study drew upon the Culture Track tracking study but was tailored to the Canadian cultural market. To be comparable with the US study, Nanos used a non-probability panel of Canadians in Ontario to recruit participants and therefore a tradition margin of error for probability research should not be applied to the research.

About Business / Arts

Business / Arts is a national charitable organization that celebrating the power in partnership between business and arts to strengthen Canada’s arts sector. Our artsvest program has generated an investment of $29.5M into Canada’s cultural sector, while our Canadian Arts Summit and Culture Track: Canada research initiatives provide arts and business leaders across the country access to professional development, and research to make strategic investments for the future health of the sector. Our arts & business exchange and boardLink programs are focused on cultivating the next generation of arts supporters in the business sector, while our annual awards gala celebrates leading figures in the business and arts communities across Canada. To learn more, please visit www.businessandarts.org.

To learn more about Business / Arts, please contact Maggie Fairs T: 416.436.3659 E: maggie@businessandarts.org

About Ontario Arts Council

In 2017, the Ontario Arts Council made a financial contribution to Business/Arts’ Culture Track Canada survey to allow them to increase the Ontario sample to 1,000 to allow for more robust and reliable analysis of sub-provincial data and to prepare a Culture Track Ontario report and data tables based on this increased sample. OAC’s intention was to provide Ontario arts organizations with market research data on cultural consumers specific to their regions and disciplines, rather than having to rely only on provincial-level data for important marketing and communications plans. This project supports OAC’s strategic plan goal to “support public engagement in the arts.”

For more than 55 years, OAC has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2018-19, OAC invested $61.1 million in 228 communities across Ontario through 2,252 grants to individual artists and 1,424 grants to organizations.

To learn more about the Ontario Arts Council, please contact Kirsten Gunter, Director of Communications | 416-969-7403 | toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058, ext. 7403 | kgunter@arts.on.ca

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