October 4, 2016 – A sense of belonging is important to build safe, vibrant communities and it brings purpose to our live, claims the latest national Vital Signs report published by Community Foundations of Canada. And the arts are part of the mix.
Vital Signs is a national program led by community foundations and coordinated by Community Foundations of Canada that leverages local knowledge to measure the vitality of our communities and support action towards improving our collective quality of life. The framework for the Vital Signs program is in many ways similar to that of The Value of Presenting study: both explore community benefits in a holistic fashion, and both include the arts.
The national 2016 Vital Signs report, Belonging: Exploring Connections to Community, looks at a number of pathways to belonging – activism, faith, online, sport and the arts – to redefine social participation and better understand how people from all walks of life engage in their communities.
The report presents the arts as a pathway to participation and belonging. It highlights statistics on arts engagement and indicators of social connectedness. For example, did you know that Canadians who attend arts or cultural performance are 34% more likely to do a favour to a neighbour? Arts attendance is also connected to high volunteering and donating rates, as well as to a sense of belonging to Canada.
And this is just a beginning...
In addition to the national Vital Signs report, CAPACOA and Community Foundations of Canada are currently doing a deep dive exploration of the connections between arts, culture and sense of belonging. Early findings from this research have already made their way into briefs to the Standing Committee on Finance and to Infrastructure Canada. Insights will also be presented and discussed at upcoming conferences: the lead researchers, Dominique O'Rourke and Frédéric Julien, will be presenting sessions at the Creative City Summit and at the Symposium on Performing Arts in Rural Communities. The final "Pulse Check" report on Arts, Culture and Sense of Belonging will be released in May 2017, at the Community Foundations of Canada Conference.
If you are conducting arts initiatives with the intent of enhancing sense of belonging and/or if you have photos illustrating these initiatives, let us know: your story could be featured in this report.
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