Montréal, October 4, 2021 – In partnership with the firm Léger, the Conseil des arts de Montréal has published the results of the Les arts toujours au cœur des citoyens* (Montrealers continue to support the arts) survey, which it conducted with citizens of the Island of Montréal to discover their perceptions of the arts and intentions to attend cultural activities. In consonance with the city’s recovery and new election campaign, the results showed that over four in five Montrealers believe that the municipal government should spend more to support the operation of arts organizations.
“For the Conseil des arts de Montréal, arts and culture are an essential part of Montréal’s DNA. We discovered that citizens were in favour of providing concrete support to artists and were looking to reconnect in person with the rich world of the arts. We thank Léger for conducting this survey, as it allowed us to look to the future with cautious optimism,” said Nathalie Maillé, Executive Director of the Conseil des arts de Montréal.
The undeniable importance and benefits procured by the arts
The survey revealed that 93% of citizens value artists’ contributions to the city; that 90% believe that professional artists add value to society and 81% believe that the arts improve their quality of life. How do the arts benefit the city? Because the arts…attract tourists (66%), highlight the city’s cultural diversity (65%), make the city more beautiful (59%), help create jobs (45%) and improve the city’s economy (43%).
In favour of more collective funding for the arts
While 70% of respondents said that Montréal’s reputation or identity depends on the vitality of its artistic offering, 83% agreed that the municipal government should further support the work of arts organizations during the recovery. It should also be noted that 86% of respondents said they wanted public bodies to be more supportive of Indigenous arts. 78% of respondents even said that funding for the arts in Montréal should be a priority for the next municipal government.
When asked “Why should arts be a priority for the City?”, the top five reasons were: encouraging local artists and emerging talent (41%), promoting the city’s cultural diversity and openness to the world (38%), providing affordable or free access to the arts and culture (32%), helping to promote the arts and culture (30%) and promoting the city and its identity (26%).
In fact, the arts seem so vital to citizens that their funding could become a community-wide responsibility: 80% believe that support for the arts in Montréal should be a priority for the business community, while Montrealers seem ready to reach into their pockets, with 77% stating that they should be directly involved in funding via donations.
An encouraging outlook for intentions to attend arts performances
The desire to get back to normal was palpable among respondents, with 79% indicating that they were planning to participate in cultural activities more often or as often as before once all health measures have been lifted. In the meantime, the impact of the vaccine passport on Montrealers’ cultural habits was low, with only 12% of citizens who consume arts and culture stating that the passports would have a negative impact, while 28% viewed it as positive (and would attend more shows) and 55% indicated that it would have no impact. On the other hand, 72% believed that restricting access to entertainment venues to citizens with their vaccine passport was a good idea.
With the emergence of new methods of dissemination during this pandemic, including a larger digital cultural offering, a large proportion of Montrealers (61%) indicated a preference to attend cultural activities in person, while 22% wished to be offered a hybrid model with a choice to participate in the same experience either in person or virtually. Only 5% preferred to attend virtually.
In closing, we would like to emphasize that since the pandemic has brought artists closer to people’s communities in many boroughs around Montréal, including the Art Out in the Open program designed by the Conseil des arts de Montréal, 87% of respondents said they would appreciate having artistic offerings near their homes.
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Director, Communications and partnerships
Conseil des arts de Montréal
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*About the survey
This web survey was conducted by Léger from August 23 to 29, 2021 with 500 residents on the Island of Montréal, aged 18 years or older who speak either French or English. To be representative of the population of the Island of Montréal, results were weighted by age, sex, region (borough), mother tongue, education and the presence of minor children in the household. Here, the arts refer to all creative expressions grouped within the following disciplines: circus arts, street arts, visual arts, digital arts, cinema and video, dance, literature, music, theatre, and interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary practices that encompass several of these disciplines.