The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent public health safety guidelines shuttered arts and cultural initituations across Canada and around the world for months. Now, museums, galleries and theatres are slowly starting to reopen, but will people go back to these venues right away or will they take their time returning?
Business / Arts, the National Arts Centre and Nanos Research have come together to gauge Canadians’ attitudes on returning to indoor and outdoor arts and culture events across Canada. Over 1,000 people were polled through the Arts Response Tracking Survey (ARTS). The results offer valuable insight for arts organizations across the country to help inform re-opening procedures and programming models.
ARTS Key survey findings:
For indoor cultural activities
- 26 per cent or one in four indoor culture-goers will attend as soon as institutions are open and following public health guidelines
- 38 per cent of indoor culture-goers will wait 5.2 months on average
- 35 per cent of indoor culture-goers are unsure
For outdoor cultural activities the figures are more encouraging:
- 39 per cent of outdoor culture-goers will attend immediately after institutions are open and following public health guidelines
- 30 per cent of outdoor culture-goers will wait an average of five months
- 32 per cent of outdoor culture-goers are unsure.
When asked specifically about returning to museums and galleries, attitudes are similar:
- 30 per cent of art gallery and museum culture-goers will return immediately after institutions are open and following public health guidelines
- 27 per cent of art gallery and museum culture-goers will wait an average of five months
- 42 per cent of art gallery and museum culture-goers are unsure
- Here, Quebec culture-goers are outliers, with 44 percent saying they plan to attend in person immediately after businesses, government and cultural organizations are opened and following public guidelines.
In all cases, for those willing to return immediately, the proper implementation of safety measures such as physical distancing (32 per cent for indoor performances, 47% for outdoor performances, and 45% for museums) and masks (27 per cent for indoor performances, 25% for outdoor performances, and 24% for museums ) are needed to ensure comfort.
For culture-goers who will wait to attend, a vaccine is more frequently mentioned as a precaution needed to make them feel comfortable attending in person events.
Encouraging and of note is that in the short term, Canadian culture-goers are embracing digital as an alternative for the lack of in-person cultural experiences.
- 50 percent or one in two culture-goers have reported having watched a digital arts event or culture performance online or taken a virtual tour of a museum since the Covid-19 outbreak.
- And, just over one in ten culture-goers (13 per cent of outdoor and indoor culture goers, 14 per cent of museum culture-goers) say they are willing to pay 50 percent of a full ticket price to watch the same performance digitally online that they would currently attend in person.
While it certainly doesn’t replace the in-person experience, these findings reveal a possible new revenue and audience building resource for Canada’s cultural organizations.
Read the full survey on the Business / Arts website.