Why Art Matters

Building a Case for Investment in the Arts

Studies and research continue to uphold the economic impact and social importance of the arts. In a McKinsey & Company report commissioned by Business for the Arts in 2008, some of the key findings included:

  • the arts can have a significant economic impact on local communities
  • organizations can achieve one or more of their corporate social responsibility objectives by investing in the arts
  • with the decline of arts education in schools, there is a greater demand for cultural activities in the community
  • arts education helps children develop higher level skills such as critical thinking and problem solving
  • the arts can have a positive impact on the development of local communities and social networks
  • arts and culture help to engage new immigrants with social institutions
  • culture builds stronger communities
  • the arts contribute to innovation within a community
  • arts and culture can foster economic inclusion
  • cities can leverage the arts as an important part of their revitalization programs

Several major cities have successfully included the arts and culture as part of their revitalization strategies. Such programs lead to many benefits for the cities including:

  • increased tourism and other indirect economic activity
  • improved quality of life and community engagement
  • regeneration of undervalued/underutilized urban real estate
  • relocation of business and residents from suburbs to downtown core

In November 2011, Heritage Minister James Moore told the Canadian Heritage committee that the arts are good for the economy, promising to aggressively and proudly support Canada’s creative communities. As an economic generator, arts and culture industries in Canada represent $46 billion and employ some 630,000 people.

For more research and resources on the economic and social benefits of the arts, please see the links below:

2010 Music In Our Schools Survey

Americans for the Arts

Arts Education Partnership

Australia Business Arts Foundation

Canada Council for the Arts

Canadian Arts Coalition

Canadian Arts Presenting Association

Canadian Conference of the Arts

Canadian Heritage

Centre for Policy Studies on Culture and Communities

City of Toronto

Conference Board of Canada

Creative City Network of Canada

Cultural Human Resources Council

Culture Days

Hill Strategies Research Inc.


Ontario Arts Council

Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

The Partnership Movement

RAND Corporation

Statistics Canada