Arts Council England
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Arts Council England report shows how public value arts and culture

Arts Council England has launched its latest report, examining how arts and culture can help to attract people and businesses to an area and shape its identity. 

The report examines social and economic indicators in Birmingham, Halifax, Hastings, Redruth, Southampton and Stoke-on-Trent, using evidence from residents, businesses and organisations including local councils and Chambers of Commerce.

The findings show that arts and culture:

  • Promotes wellbeing – 65% of people think that arts and culture are good for well-being, and 36% think arts and culture are “essential to life”. People who attend a wide range of arts and cultural events are more satisfied with their lives than those who do not (even when accounting for other factors that influence life satisfaction).
  • Attracts a variety of people to live and work in an area – 44% of people who remained in an area and 43% who moved to an area cited arts and culture as an important factor in their decision – equal to the numbers of people citing schools. These figures were not affected by the type of job a person had, suggesting that arts and culture can help to attract a broad range of residents and workers to an area.
  • Helps build communities – 49% of people think attending arts and cultural events helps them feel part of a community, with 68% thinking these events are very important for fostering community feeling.
  • Supports high streets – Arts and cultural organisations are helping to fill the gap left as retail moves away from high streets. By offering unique experiences, these organisations are helping to attract visitors and increase footfall, promoting high streets as attractive places to live, work and visit.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England said “These figures demonstrate that people value arts and culture and that the opportunity to visit a theatre, or listen to music or borrow a book from a local library is as important a factor in their choice of where to live as the availability of good schools.  The Report shows that public investment in the arts is helping to bring people together, promoting wellbeing, and sustaining towns and cities through the dramatic changes happening on high streets.  By supporting our cultural sector we create happier, more vibrant communities where people are proud to live and work.”

The report is available to download here.  It uses data from Ipsos Mori’s Active Lives survey, administered between May 2017 and May 2018, as well as focus groups with residents and interviews with business leaders, local council inward investment teams, Chambers of Commerce, Business Improvement Districts and Regional Growth Companies.

Notes to editors

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Contact information

Nathan Dean – National
Communications Officer

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