Arts survey offers little comfort for creatives

A measly nine per cent of English adults think the arts should receive more money, according to a new survey undertaken by ComRes on behalf of Arts Council England (ACE). The research doesn’t make fun reading for those who value culture, given that it found 45 per cent of respondents think funding should be cut.

Other stomach-turning stats include the fact that over half of people surveyed know ‘nothing at all’ about ACE and that most of those who do think it doesn’t do a good job of communicating the value of arts and culture.

These results are nothing new: a similar study in 2014 found an equally apathetic attitude to the arts. The new data comes from a ComRes survey of 1,750 people made online in October 2015, weighted to be representative of all English adults.

In one of the few silver linings, the study found that most people do in fact think that the arts should receive some tax money, with 63 per cent putting forward this opinion – the highest level of support since 2011. However, more people think the National Lottery should be the main source of arts income – 74 per cent.

As might be expected, income level shows a strong correlation with arts engagement. 61 per cent from the highest income bracket attended cultural events in the past year, compared to 30 per cent from the lowest income bracket. 44 per cent of people from the highest income bracket said public funding of arts and culture benefits them, whereas just 25 per cent from the lower bracket said the same. Again, these figures are consistent with the 2014 study.

In terms of activities, attending a museum or gallery came top, followed by use of a public library and attending a performance in third. Taking part in an artistic practice comes in a distant fourth.