How important are the arts in Canadian communities?
Seeking your thoughts and offering a few of my own
How important are the arts to our quality of life? According to a recent Globe and Mail article on Livable Cities, not particularly. That got me thinking. And researching.
Today's post is partly an exploration of the methods behind the Globe and Mail’s “Livable Cities” ranking and Statistics Canada’s Quality of Life Framework for Canada. Partly, it’s a discussion piece on research into whether and how the arts matter in our communities.
A lot of my work this year has been on how many artists there are across the country and in different communities. If the arts are not important, then artists would not be important as well. By implication, my research would not be important. All of these things would be very troubling to me.
Discounting the value of the arts and culture
Don’t get me wrong: the Globe’s Livable Cities ranking does include the arts and culture, but it includes them in a very minor way. And it explicitly discounts the importance of the arts and culture:
“Proximity to grocery stores was given more weight than proximity to libraries, recognizing the former’s greater impact on an average person’s quality of life.”
I believe that assuming that there is “an average person”, as stated in the article, is not a good way of thinking about society. There are all kinds of diversities, some of which are physically apparent and many more that are not. Demographics and psychographics matter, and can’t be reduced to a simplistic “average person”.
But that’s enough of that distraction. Back to what the Livable Cities ranking states about the arts and culture.