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Study: Arts lead to engagement

Sarah Ramsey

A new study suggests there is a connection between the arts and civic engagement.

ArtsWave and Agenda 360 partnered for “Snapshot 2012:  Arts Engagement in Greater Cincinnati.”  It was a survey of the general population in the Greater Cincinnati area that for the first time provides baseline data on arts engagement in the region.

It found people who are actively engaged in the arts are more active in civic life and the arts contribute to stronger social bonds, a higher quality of life, and a broader global worldview.

“Every community wants residents who volunteer, vote, and are invested in the health of their neighbors and neighborhoods” ArtsWave President and CEO Mary McCullough-Hudson said in a press release. “This survey clearly suggests that people in the Cincinnati region who are actively engaged with our arts and cultural opportunities are more invested in civic life.”

Some initial findings include:

  • Arts Engagement and Civic Engagement Rise Together
  • Arts Contribute to Quality of Place
  • Arts Bring People Together
  • People Active in the Arts have a more Global Worldview

The survey is designed to help ArtsWave and its arts partners understand how the general public is currently engaged in the arts and where opportunities can be found to increase that engagement and reach new audiences.
“We are creating a learning community through which our arts partners and others can reduce barriers to participation, inform cultural policy, reinforce the arts as a recognized and valued component of our region’s quality of life, and increase engagement to drive these desirable community-wide outcomes,” McCullough-Hudson said.  “By providing this market data to local arts organizations, as well as other support and tools, we hope to inspire and fuel adaptive change and innovation that benefits all.”

The data was collected in the fall 2012 through random telephone interviews with 1,521 adults in the 15-county Southwestern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana metro area. 

The survey explored respondents’ level of involvement in 49 different arts and cultural activities, including both attendance-based activities and personal practice activities, across the disciplines of music, dance, theatre, reading and writing, visual arts, crafts, film/media and history, science and nature.