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Ontario Arts Council study confirms support for arts in Ontario

A new Ontario Arts Council (OAC) study conducted by Nanos Research has found that the arts maintain a high level of support among Ontarians. According to the report, Ontario residents recognize the important contribution of the arts—music included—to vibrant, liveable communities. This report is a follow up to OAC’s 2010 provincial survey, and offers an important perspective on arts in the public eye.

The survey, based on a random sample of 1,004 individuals, found that a majority of Ontarians recognize the positive impact that the arts have on quality of life, community well-being, identity and belonging, and government investment.

“The results of the Quality of Life report confirm what we heard as we developed the province’s first Culture Strategy, and show that Ontarians intuitively understand that culture is a fundamentally important part of our lives and communities,” said Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “I’m proud that our government is taking steps to strengthen the arts and culture sector as we implement the initiatives outlined in the Culture Strategy, and the Ontario Arts Council is an important part of that work.”

“This study clearly demonstrates that people across Ontario believe that the arts make an important contribution to their quality of life and social well-being and that arts activities are key factors in increasing the attractiveness of their communities as places to live and work,” said Rita Davies, Chair, Ontario Arts Council.

Highlights of the survey are as follows:

Arts and quality of life

  • 93% of Ontarians agree that arts activities help enrich the quality of our lives.
  • 90% of Ontarians say that the arts are important to improving the quality of life in their communities.
  • 85% say that the arts are important to improving the quality of their own lives.

Arts and identity and belonging

  • 91% of Ontarians agree that the arts help us to understand other cultures better.
  • 88% agree that participating in arts activities builds a shared sense of community identity.

Arts and community well-being

  • 90% agree that an active local arts scene helps make a community a better place to live.
  • 97% agree that engaging children in the arts is important to their overall development.
  • 80% of Ontarians agree that an active local arts scene helps communities attract businesses.

Government investment in the arts

  • 82% of Ontarians agree that helping make the arts available to people in Ontario is an important government investment.
  • 79% agree that government should spend public dollars to invest in the arts.

You can read the report’s executive summary on the OAC website.


Rita Davies Appointed Chair of the Ontario Arts Council

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has announced that Rita Davies has been appointed Chair of the OAC, following her nomination by the Government of Ontario.

Ms. Davies brings extensive leadership experience in the arts community to the role, having been Executive Director of Culture for the City of Toronto from 1999 through 2012. Prior to that role, she was Executive Director of the Toronto Arts Council from 1984 through 1999. More recently, she launched Cultural Capital, which provides consulting services in cultural planning and policy.

“We are delighted with the appointment of Rita Davies as Chair,” said Peter Caldwell, OAC Director & CEO in a release. “The Chair plays a crucial role at agencies like the Ontario Arts Council. Rita’s extensive and in-depth knowledge of the arts in Ontario, and particularly public funding of the arts, will serve OAC and the arts community very well in the years ahead.”

“I’d like to congratulate Rita on her appointment as Chair,” said Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Over the past few decades, Rita’s efforts to advance the interest of artists and arts organizations in Ontario have led to lasting, tangible change.  The Ontario Arts Council, artists and arts organizations across the province will benefit from the impressive experience, knowledge and passion that she brings to the table.”

“I am thrilled to be given this opportunity to lead the Ontario Arts Council, one of the great cultural institutions of this province,” said Rita Davies in the OAC release. “The OAC makes a difference in the lives of communities large and small and adds to our economic prosperity.  I look forward to working with arts organizations across Ontario.”


Music Canada, as well as many other Canadian arts organizations, congratulated both parties on the appointment via social media.


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