Building Public Engagement in the Arts
The pilot project Building Public Engagement in the Arts was an initiative of the Canada Council for the Arts and its partners: Department of Canadian Heritage (Atlantic region), Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, New Brunswick Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport and New Brunswick Arts Board.
The project had 3 objectives:
- to collect data on the attitude of New Brunswickers toward the arts and on their participation in arts activities
- to encourage New Brunswickers to increase their participation in arts activities
- to increase the ability of the local arts organizations to establish relations with their public
Public engagement in the arts means any involvement in the arts, including participation, donations, education and volunteerism. This pilot project is based on the major study on arts participation published in the United States in 2001 by the RAND Corporation.
We conducted a public opinion telephone survey in 2008 among 1000 residents of New Brunswick on their participation in arts activities and the level of importance they give the arts.
Local arts organizations and institutions carried out self-assessments in early 2008. Through feedback we received from questionnaires and a series of interviews, we were able to determine training needs and a format for 2 skills development workshops.
Arts Participation Fund
The Fund was a component of the pilot project. It provided financial and peer support to New Brunswick arts organizations to help them implement self-designed arts participation projects.
Two NB organizations - Performing Arts NB and the Conseil provincial des sociétés culturelles - administered the Arts Participation Fund on behalf of the 5 funding partners.
Funded projects :
The projects proposed by the following 6 organizations were selected by a peer assessment committee:
1. ARCf de Saint-Jean (Saint John)
2. Centre communautaire Beausoleil (Miramichi)
3. Les Productions DansEncorps inc. (Moncton)
4. Musical Ventures inc.
(site 1 and site 2) (Fredericton)
5. St. Andrews Arts Council (St. Andrews)
6. Symphony New Brunswick (Saint John)
When the initiative was completed in 2011, the partners conducted an evaluation of the pilot project. The report provides insight into the impact of this project, lessons that were learned along the way, and the perspectives of the partners and the organizations who participated.
As you will see, there were some positive results and we hope this report will be of use to other funders and organizations who are considering audience engagement projects.
If you have any questions, please contact Grace Thrasher at firstname.lastname@example.org