The Value of Arts & Culture

The Arts Council has issued its new report ” The Value of Arts and Culture to People and Society, an evidence review“.

The purpose of the Art Council’s review is to look at existing research that shows the impact of arts and culture on our economy, health, well-being, society, and education.  Why is Culture a “ strategic national resource” in need of support, and how can art enrich our lives?

In his Foreword, Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of the Arts Council England, writes “Try to imagine society without the humanizing influence of the arts, and you will have to strip out most of what is pleasurable in life, as well as much that is educationally critical and socially essential (…) Life(….) without the personal expression of literature, music and art, would be static and sterile-no creative arguments about the past, no diverse and stimulating present and no dreams of the future .”

There are several aspects of this review that are truly at the core of From My City’s mission and approach to art and culture.

1. The creation and strengthening of social bonds among individuals

The review confirms that the use of art has the power to facilitate social interaction. This is what we experience everyday in our FMC activities both at a personal and professional level. In a previous blog, I explained how, based on my own experience, I realized that art could provide the perfect backdrop for developing relationships and ideas. Read this Fortune’s feature on what business people can learn from artists.  In a world where interactions are often taking place through digital means, it is important to have opportunities to meet people in a context where they can build real and valuable relationships. Engaging with the arts can play a great role in the networking process. Art is an invitation to have a conversation at a deeper level, it creates insightful discussions which often go beyond the piece of art or performance that has triggered it. This is because it allows us to show our humanity and often connects us to a familiar human experience or to our own personal journey. It has the power to create more intimacy among people who meet for the first time, stimulates our emotions, and produces an amazing  ‘feel good’ effect.

2. The  spillover effects between the Arts and Culture sector and the wider economy

In another blog, I mentioned Richard Florida’s new edition of “The Rise of the Creative Class ” and the importance of diversity for the economy. Florida convincingly argues in his book that the “Creative” economy  is multifaceted, multidimensional and experiential. Various forms of creativity such as technological creativity (invention), economic creativity (entrepreneurship), as well as cultural and artistic creativity are deeply interrelated. They share a common thought process, reinforce each other by cross-fertilization and mutual stimulation. This is an essential element that should always be kept in mind and it is also why we choose to promote cultural and artistic activities within businesses.

3. The Health and wellbeing benefits

In our “Bridging Arts and Business” group on Linkedin, we often post articles and research papers linking arts and culture to health and wellbeing. Some of these studies are also mentioned in the Arts Council’s new report and confirm that those who had attended a cultural place or event in the previous 12 months were almost 60% more likely to report good health compared to those who had not. Some studies also conclude that theatre-goers were almost 25 % more likely to report good health. The report finally points out that participation in structured arts activities increases cognitive abilities.

If you are interested in these topics, please join the conversation either by commenting on this blog or by joining our Bridging Arts and Business group on Linkedin.

 

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