News > New Findings Confirm the Association between Arts and Belonging

New Findings Confirm the Association between Arts and Belonging

October 19, 2017 – In April, Community Foundations of Canada and CAPACOA published Vital Signs: Arts and Belonging. Since then, new research findings shored up the idea that arts and sense of belonging are intimately connected.

In April, Vital Signs: Arts and Belonging revealed that live music attendees are more likely to report a strong sense of belonging to their community. Photo: The Bouey-Doucet Duo visiting an elementary school in Fredericton as part of a Debut Atlantic tour.
The Bouey-Doucet Duo was visiting Forest Hill Elementary, Fredericton, as part of a Debut Atlantic tour

In June, over the course of a fascinating web conference discussion on leisure time, we were presented the findings from the Community Wellbeing Survey, a joint initiative of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing and the Association of Community Health Centres. Seven thousand adults were surveyed in five mid-size Canadian municipalities and there was one single constant: in each municipality arts engagement was positively associated with sense of belonging in the community.

Chart: Relationship of Arts Engagement to Individual and Community Wellbeing

In this chart, the r figure represents the correlation coefficient that is, the strength of the association between arts engagement and the indicators of wellbeing. While coefficients between .100 and .250 are considered to be ‘mild,’ the fact that the correlation with sense of belonging was found in each of the five municipalities is quite meaningful (see slides 15-18 of the presentation for more details).

In addition, on the day following the above web conference, the Ontario Arts Council released Impressions of the Impact of the Arts on Quality of Life and Well-Being in Ontario. This opinion survey confirmed that Ontarians are sold to the idea of arts and community belonging:

  • Nine in ten Ontarians strongly agree or somewhat agree that arts experiences help bring people from diverse backgrounds together as a community
  • Just under nine in ten Ontarians strongly agree or somewhat agree that participating in arts activities builds a shared sense of community identity.

There’s obviously much more to be said – and to be discussed – about arts and belonging. For example, the magazine Municipal World featured an article entitled Arts and Culture: Key to Building Belonging in its September edition.  The CAPACOA Conference will also explore the theme The Culture of Community from the angle of belonging.

On November 16, Arts, Belonging, and You will be an opportunity to examine research findings and to answer the most important question about them: so what? Along with Julie Lebel, from Made in BC – Dance-on-Tour, we will co-create actionable insights for making arts and belonging a reality in your community.


This session is sponsored by:

debut atlantic | début atlantique            Prairie Debut


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