All posts by Michela Comparey

Building a robust case for business investment in the arts, and the connection to public support

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The following post is by Nichole Anderson, President and CEO of Business for the Arts and one of the partners in this symposium.  She provides a perspective on corporate views of why they invest in the arts, and the connection of their support to public funding.  BfA research shows that 100% of large companies say that public investment in the arts is important, but only 23% say they would increase their support should there be cuts.

I was in Ottawa and Montreal this month to present Business for the Arts’ latest research on business investment in the arts, and in Winnipeg and Calgary last month, as part of a cross-country conversation with government and business around what it will take to build a robust case for business investment in the arts. The findings are a result of a study we commissioned from the Strategic Counsel to help us understand the level of engagement in the arts by Canadians, why they engage and what they value about the arts, as well as feedback from businesses in Canada on why they do or do not invest, what it would take to increase that investment and how they value public sector funding as part of funding mix. Read More

The cultural policy disconnect

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Response from policy makers and cultural leaders to the upcoming symposium, Reframing the cultural policy dialogue, has been strong. With a sold-out in-person audience, and a growing list of live-stream registrants, this event appears to be timely for the sector.

How do average Canadians feel about cultural policy though?

A recent survey by the Angus Reid Institute gauged Canadians’ attitudes to our culture. In their words, “most consider Canadian culture to be unique, worthy of, and critically in need of protection to survive.” Seventy percent of Canadians say that Canada still needs specific protection policies and support from government for Canadian culture to survive.

Why then is cultural policy rarely on the public radar, let alone debated?

In a 2011 Nanos poll conducted for The Arts Advocate, respondents were asked how important a party’s arts and culture platform was to their vote.: Only one in ten Canadians said it was important. Five in ten Canadians said it was neither important or unimportant, while fully four in ten Canadians said it was unimportant. There is no reason to believe these numbers would have changed much.

When you contemplate the implications of these unique surveys together, it’s clear why decision-makers will say that support for culture is a mile wide and an inch deep.

How does the cultural sector change this? Our goal is that Reframing the cultural policy dialogue will explore some options in this regard.