Public Value - Participation - Overview
Tag : impact

Australian attitudes to the arts are increasingly positive with 89 percent of people in agreement that 'The arts should be an important part of the education of every Australian' in 2013.

Over eight in ten agreed that the arts make for a richer and more meaningful life (85 percent) and it is exciting to see new styles and types of art (84 percent), significant increases from 2009.


The vast majority of Australians feel positive about the arts

The Australia Council arts participation survey explored Australian attitudes to the art, and found high levels of agreement with positive statements about the benefits of the arts.

Similarly to 2009, Australians still believe that the arts are an important part of children’s education (89 percent agree, 90 percent in 2009) and that people can enjoy both arts and sport (96 percent agree, the same as in 2009). Over eight in ten agreed that the arts make for a richer and more meaningful life (85 percent) and it is exciting to see new styles and types of art (84 percent), significant increases from 2009.

In 2013, almost eight in ten Australians agreed that the arts should receive public funding (79 percent) which is a significant decrease from 85 percent in 2009. Although there is still very strong support, some Australians are shifting on the need for public funding.

Only thirteen percent agreed 'the arts are not for people like me', down from 20 percent in 2009 but this suggests there is still an opportunity to continue improving the relevance and accessibility of the arts to all Australians.


Attitudes are becoming less negative over time, with the arts seen as less elitist and expensive

The Australia Council arts participation survey 2013 results suggest that movements have been made in the perception of art as relevant and accessible to all Australians.

Only thirty percent of Australians agreed that the arts attract people who are elitist or pretentious in 2013. This has continued a downward trend from over half of Australians agreeing with this statement in 1999, which fell to one third in 2009.

Similarly, only 36 percent of Australians agreed that the arts were too expensive in 2013 compared to 39 percent in 2009 and 54 percent in 1999.


Most Australians believe the arts have a big impact on our development and wellbeing

The Australia Council arts participation survey 2013 explored how much impact the arts is seen to have across twelve different areas.

The arts have the most impact on child development where two thirds of Australians believe the arts have a big or very big impact. This aligns with attitudes towards ‘The Arts are an important part of the education of every Australian’ where 89 percent agree.

The other areas where the majority of Australians feel the arts have a key impact are focussed on benefits to individuals. Australians think that the arts have a big impact on: our ability to express ourselves (61 percent); to think creatively and develop new ideas (59 percent); our ability to deal with stress, anxiety or depression (56 percent); and to improve our sense of wellbeing and happiness (52 percent).

Fewer Australians feel that the arts impact the wider community than impact individual benefits. Only one third of Australians think the arts have a big impact on our empathy for others (only 36 percent) or on our connections with family and friends (33 percent).

The economy is an area where many Australians believe the arts do not have an impact - less than one in four Australians (22 percent) think the Arts have a big or very big impact here.


Tag : impact

Australian view the arts as easily accessible, with 72 percent of people in agreement that 'There are plenty of opportunities for me to get involved with the arts' in 2013.

Creative participation has significantly increased from 41 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2013. Visual arts and craft was still the most popular artform creatively engaged in and increased to 30 percent, compared to 22 percent in 2009.

96 percent of Australians also believe that people can enjoy both arts and sport.


Attendance and Engagement - Participation - Overview

Australians participate in arts as much as people in other countries

Analysis suggests that Australians participate in the arts as much as people in the UK and New Zealand. Creative participation has significantly increased from 41 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2013.

Figure 46 - Arts participation in selected countries

Proportion of adults participating in an arts event or activity at least once over a 12 month periodAttending arts events %Creative participation %
Australia (2013)7148
England (2012)6948
New Zealand (2011)8049


Half of all Australians are creatively engaged with the arts

Almost 8 million Australians are involved in creating art.

In 2013, creative participation significantly increased to 48 percent from 41 percent in 2009. Visual arts and craft was still the most popular artform creatively engaged in and increased to 30 percent, compared to 22 percent in 2009.

Many Australians were also involved creatively in literature (16 percent) and making music (20 percent).

The arts participation survey results found that creative participation was done as a hobby by most of those involved, especially in the case of crafts, social dance, playing a musical instrument, writing songs, mixing or composing music, and writing poetry.


Young people are more creatively engaged in the arts than other Australians

Young people (aged 15-24 years old) had higher levels of creative participation with the arts than other Australians. Almost two thirds (65 percent) creatively participated in the arts in the previous 12 months, compared to 44 percent for the rest of the population. This trend of higher participation was present across all artforms.

The Australia Council arts participation survey findings suggest that education played a role, with young students more active in creative participation than young employed persons.


A small proportion of Australians have not engaged with the arts either receptively or creatively

According to the Australia Council arts participation study 2013, only 5 percent of Australians had not engaged with the arts in the previous year.

Looking specifically at attendance at an arts event (excluding reading), 29 percent of Australians had not attended any arts event in the last 12 months. However, over seven in ten of those who had not attended an arts event in the last 12 months had attended at some point in the past. Also, 50 percent of people were interested in attending arts events in the future, up from 39 percent in 2009, which signals an increasing appetite for the arts.

Over half of Australians (52 percent) had not creatively participated in an arts activity in the past 12 months, this decreased from 59 percent in 2009. Non-creative participants express three broad factors that prevent arts participation:

  • Opportunity costs (having to take time or money from some other activity and devote it to creative arts participation) – 81 percent.
  • Access barriers (distance, opportunity, no-one to do it with, health problems, etc.) - 73 percent (up from 64 percent in 2009).
  • Poor alignment between the arts and their self-image - 64 percent.


Some groups have lower arts participation

Research shows that people with disabilities, people from non-English speaking backgrounds, people from lower socio-economic groups and older Australians (65+) continue to have lower participation rates than other Australians.

The figure below illustrates the size of these groups and their participation levels relative to the Australian population. It shows that:

  • Those with a long term illness or disability are the furthest away from the average Australian in terms of arts participation
  • Low creative participation is a particular issue for older Australians (aged 65+)
  • ·Low attendance is a particular issue for those with long term illness or disability, or whose main language is not English
  • Males have only slightly lower engagement, but account for the largest underrepresented group (i.e. half the population).

In practice some of these factors overlap, and so we find more than half of those over 65 years have a household income of less than $40k, and a quarter of this group have a serious illness or disability.

Figure 55 - Participation rates among key demographic segments

GroupCreative Participation %Attendance %Receptive Participation
(including reading) %
All Australians487194
Household Income under $40k445890
Main language not English405989
Primary School highest qualification436083
Long term illness or disability495988
Over 65 years396290


Australians in regional areas participate just as much, but in different types of arts events to those in metropolitan areas

Creative participation in the arts has increased significantly amongst regional Australians, from 39 percent in 2009 to 49 percent in 2013. This is now at a similar level to Australians living in metropolitan areas (47 percent). In particular, creative participation has risen for Visual Art and Craft (32 percent, from 21 percent in 2009) and Music (20 percent, from 14 percent in 2009).

Although receptive participation in regional areas remains largely unchanged at 93 percent, from 92 percent in 2009, there has been a significant decrease in receptive participation of Visual Arts & Craft (33 percent, from 38 percent in 2009) and Theatre & Dance (32 percent, from 39 percent in 2009).

Regional Australians are more likely to attend Indigenous arts and craft, dance and music events. This is reflected in regional attitudes towards Indigenous arts with a quarter of people having a strong interest compared to 20 percent in metropolitan areas.


People from a non-English speaking background are less likely to participate in the arts

People with a non-English speaking background are less engaged with the arts than the broader population. The participation rates for people whose main language spoken at home is not English are lower than the wider Australian community:

  • 5 percent lower in terms of receptive particpation
  • 8 percent lower in terms of creative participation.

·’Playing the arts game’ shows language to be the key factor in terms of multicultural engagement (as opposed to being born overseas or having parents born overseas). Those born here but with at least one parent born overseas showed similar levels of participation to other Australians.

The ABS found that those children born overseas in an English speaking country were most likely to have attended at least one cultural venue or event (82 percent), compared to children born in Australia (71 percent) and children born in countries where English is not the main language (67 percent).

Children born overseas (63 percent) were somewhat more likely to visit a public library than children born in Australia (51 percent). Children born in Australia (39 percent) or overseas in an English speaking country (45 percent) were more likely to attend a performing arts event than children born in countries where English is not the main language (23 percent).


Community arts engagement is increasing over time

Community arts was described in the arts participation research as art that has been created as part of a community group together with a professional artist who has been paid for their involvement. In 2013, one third of Australians reported engagement with community art in the previous year, an increase from a quarter in 2009.

The number of Australians who were both creatively participating and attending community arts increased to almost one in ten, with significant growth in visual arts and craft, music.

Attendance also grew, suggesting community arts is both attracting new attendees and engaging them into creative participation. The growth in attendance occurred mainly in music with an increase to 19 percent from 16 percent in 2009.


Over one third of children creatively participated in an arts activity in 2012

More than one third of children aged 5 to 14 years (980,700) participated in at least one organised cultural activity (playing a musical instrument, singing, dancing, drama or organised art and craft) outside of school hours.

The proportion of children dancing in 2012 (15 percent) has increased since 2006 (13 percent), while fewer children are now playing a musical instrument (18 percent in 2012 compared with 20 percent in 2006).

Nearly half of all female children (47 percent) participated in at least one organised cultural activity, compared with 24 percent of male children. Dancing was the most popular activity for females (367,400 participants), followed by playing a musical instrument (261,400 participants). Playing a musical instrument was the most popular activity for males (228,800 participated).

The proportion of children reading for pleasure has decreased from 75 percent in 2006 to 71 percent in 2012. Female children are more likely to read for pleasure (77 percent) than male children (65 percent). Female children were also more creatively involved in recreational art and craft (54 percent participation) than male children (33 percent participation).

Figure 54 - Children’s participation in leisure activities outside of school

Participation rate2006 %2009 %2012 %
Organised cultural participation
Playing a musical instrument202018
Organised art and craft7
Participation in recreational activities
Recreational art and craft43
Reading for pleasure757271
Skateboarding, rollerblading or riding a scooter4954
Bike riding686064
Watching TV, DVDs or videos979796
Other screen-based activities8385
Homework or other study838281


Indigenous Culture - Participation - Overview
Tag : impact

Australian attitudes to the arts are increasingly positive with 92 percent of people in agreement that 'Indigenous arts are an important part of Australia's culture' in 2013. This is up from 89 percent in 2009.

This attitude is also reflected in a growing interest in Indigenous arts with almost a quarter of Australians having a strong interest, a significant increase from 2009, and a further 42 percent of Australians saying their interest in Indigenous arts is growing.


Most Australians have an interest in Indigenous arts, but not all are experiencing it

Indigenous arts continue to be highly valued by Australians, with 92 percent of Australians agreeing that Indigenous arts are an important part of Australia’s culture in 2013, compared to 89 percent in 2009.

Almost one quarter of Australians have a strong interest in Indigenous arts, while a further 42 percent say their interest is growing.

However, only one quarter of Australians have engaged in Indigenous arts (24 percent), mainly through visual arts & crafts (17 percent), dance (10 percent) and live music (10 percent).

This means 40 percent of Australians have an interest in attending Indigenous arts but had not attended any in the year of the survey.

Further, relative to international tourists, very few domestic visitors and day trippers experience Indigenous arts. In 2009, Tourism Research Australia reported that just 3 percent of domestic overnight visitors experienced Indigenous art or craft or cultural displays, compared with 20 percent of international visitors.


Performing industry - Industry - Music
Tag : impact

In addition to major ticketed events, live music brings millions of fans into venues such as hotels, clubs, cafes and restaurants. In 2011, it was estimated to generate 41.97 million attendances, and leverage $1.21 billion revenue through audience spending in licensed live music venues.

With 6,300 such gigs each week across the country, live music also helps to sustain almost 15,000 jobs.


Australia’s global ranking - Global - Music

Australia is the sixth largest music market in the world, representing three percent of the total global music market

The USA and Japan are the biggest markets for recorded music in the world, together representing more than half of all sales of recorded music in 2011. Australia ranks sixth in terms of recorded music market size, slightly ahead of Canada.


Key international markets - Global - Music

Australia’s key export markets are the USA, UK and Europe

The key international markets for performance and broadcast of Australian music were the USA, UK and Europe.


Trade in music royalties - Global - Music

Historically Australians have paid more music royalties to overseas artists than they have received in return

In 2008-09 other countries paid $75m in music royalties to Australia. Australia paid more than three times this amount in royalties to international artists ($235m).

The last three years have seen the balance of trade reach the highest level since 1991-92.

APRA | AMCOS collected revenue of $20.2m from overseas collecting societies in 2010-11 – a decrease on prior years due to the appreciation of the Australian dollar.



Global art market - Global - Visual Arts
Tag : impact

Relative to the global market for visual art, the Australian market is small. In 2011, Australian auction sales represented 0.6% of the total global auction market.

China is emerging as the largest visual arts market in the world in terms of auction sales, recording $5 billion in 2012 (41% of the global auction market) – highlighting big opportunities for Australia in the future.


The global art auction market is valued at over $12 billion, led by the US, China and the UK markets

In 2012, global art auctions generated $12.269 billion, of which $5.068 billion was generated in China and $7.2 billion in the rest of the world

Accounting for 41 percent of the global share, China has the largest share of global fine art auction turnover in 2012. The next largest markets – the USA and UK trail behind with 27 percent and 18 percent of turnover share respectively.[1]

Australia is emerging as a player on the art auction scene. While 2012 revenue was estimated by Artprice at $82 million,[2] this represents an increase on 2004 revenue.

[1]   Indexed auction records are based on Fine Art and Design catalogued auctions (paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, prints, watercolors, etc) recorded by, except antiques and furniture.

[2]   Note some differences in reported auction turnover for Australia exist between Artprice and Australia Art Sales Digest due to differences in definition and auction houses included in analysis.


Australia’s secondary market is small relative to the size of our economy

Art auction sales contribute considerably more to the GDP for the UK and China than Australia.

Despite growth over the years, Australia is still in the early stages with fine art auction revenue contributing to only 0.005 percent of GDP. In comparison, the secondary market is four time in Switzerland, relative to the size of its economy.


Paintings and drawings represent 96 percent of auction turnover globally

According to Artprice, paintings and drawings garner higher average prices at auction compared with sculpture, print and photographic works.

In 2010, it estimated that paintings and drawings accounted for 69 percent of lots sold, but 96 percent of auction turnover globally.


Cultural tourism in Australia - Global - Visual Arts

The Australian economy benefits from international visitors to museums and galleries

Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey 2009, showed more than half (51 percent) of all overseas visitors attended at least one cultural attraction while in Australia.

Of these, 57 percent had visited a museum or art gallery and 17 percent had visited an art/craft workshop or studio.

Many also experienced Indigenous culture, with 20 percent ‘experiencing Aboriginal art/craft and cultural displays’, and 11 percent ‘visiting an Aboriginal site/community’.

International cultural and heritage visitors create economic benefits through longer stays and higher spending patterns than other tourists. In 2009, the average amount spent per trip was $6,280 compared with other international visitors who spent on average $3,832. This resulted in total spending of $16.3 billion in 2009.

Visitors from Asia accounted for 36 percent of all international cultural and heritage visitors. The United Kingdom and New Zealand accounted for a further 15 percent and 13 percent respectively.

The most popular destinations for both international and domestic cultural heritage visitors were New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, while rates of participation in cultural and heritage activities were higher in the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.


Public galleries - Industry - Visual Arts
Tag : impact

Australia’s art museums are home to 2.8 million art works. In 2007-08, they held over 2,000 special exhibitions or displays, and recorded over 2 million paid and 10 million unpaid visitors.

Our art museums and galleries also enable millions of international tourists to experience Australian culture, and fuel important economic activity through tourism. In 2009, around 30% of international visitors and 43% of domestic travellers visited a museum or gallery.


Australia’s 165 public art museums attracted almost 13 million attendances in 2008

There are an estimated 165 non-commercial galleries/museums in Australia with a visual arts focus.  In 2008, the ABS estimated that these visual arts galleries/museums made up 14 percent of all museums in Australia – with an estimated 712 social history museums, 247 historic sites and 59 other museums operating.

Art museums held over 2,000 special exhibitions or displays during 2007-08. That year they recorded 12.9 million admissions, the equivalent of 42 percent of all museum admissions reported.  Four in five of these attendances were for free exhibitions and events.

Art museums were more reliant on public funds than other museums, with government funding accounting for almost 40 percent of their income in 2007-08. However, art museums also earned more than three times the funds of other museums through sponsorship and philanthropy.

Table 2 - Summary of non-commercial art galleries/museums in Australia

Year Art museums Free attendances Paid attendances Admissions incomeOnline visits
2007-08 165 107710002177000$1960000011987000


Art museum websites attracted almost 12 million visits in 2007-08

In terms of online engagement, art galleries reported almost 12 million unique online visits in 2007-08, and almost 50 million page views during that year.

This far exceeds the website visitation of social history and historic site websites, but is less than that of ‘other museums’, including natural history and science museums such as Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

Table 3 - Summary of on-line visits to non-commercial art galleries/museums in Australia

Museum typeNo. of museumsTotal webpage viewsTotal unique visitsAverage unique visits per museum
Art museums165493181198773
Social history museums71227495870412
Historic sites24716237
Other museums5941194698


Commercial art galleries manage over 16,000 relationships with visual artists

The ABS estimated that there were 514 commercial art galleries operating in Australia during 1999-2000. This included 31 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) art centres and 483 other commercial art galleries.

These galleries provided over 16,000 on-going ‘representations’ for visual artists.[1] The average number of artists represented by ATSI art centres was 93, compared to 29 artists for other commercial art galleries.

In 1999–2000, commercial art gallery businesses had total sales of artworks of $218 million. Two thirds of this ($145 million) related to commission income from the sale of works on behalf of others.  One third related to sales of works owned by the gallery.

Represented artists shared in over $100m in commission income generated through the sale of their artwork by commercial galleries in that year. That is equivalent to over $6,000 per represented artist.

The ABS reports that in 2007-08 commercial art galleries charged a higher average commission for the sale of Indigenous visual artworks (40 per cent), compared to the work of non-Indigenous Australian visual artists (29 percent) and those from overseas (17 percent) in 1999-2000.

[1]   Artists represented on an ongoing basis are defined as the number of artists who have an agreement with a commercial art gallery to represent them by regularly displaying or promoting the sale of their artworks. This figure includes double counting as a commercial art gallery could represent more than one visual artist. As such it is not a representation of the total visual artist population.


Attendance - Participation - Visual Arts
Tag : impact

With around 11 million visitors a year, galleries are now more highly attended than Australia’s most popular spectator sport, Australian Rules Football, which had 10 million attendances in 2009-10.


Almost 40 percent of Australians attend visual arts and craft presentations, exhibitions and festivals each year

The Australia Council’s survey of arts participation showed that thirty-eight percent of Australians attended a visual arts and craft event in 2009, with over half of these attendees (54 percent or 21 percent of all Australians) going to an exhibition of a painting, drawing or street art.

Digital or video art was the least attended type of visual arts event with only 17 percent of visual arts attendees (or seven percent of all Australians) going to these events.

Visual arts and craft events were attended, on average, twice as often as other artforms over a 12 month period. Among those who attend each artform, visual arts were attended 14 times a year compared to six times for music and theatre and dance audiences.

Craft events had the highest number of attendances at 16 times a year, while sculpture and installation art events had the least number of attendances at 10 times per year.


Tag : impact

We found 9% of Australians over 15 years of age attended an Indigenous visual arts and craft event in 2009 – equivalent to over 1.66 million people.

Looking at the arts overall, attitudes to Indigenous art are increasingly positive. Almost half of all Australians (47%) say their interest in Indigenous art is growing. A further 17% say they already have a strong interest and will continue to.


Visual arts are particularly popular among older age groups

In general, attendees of visual arts events are significantly older than attendees of other arts events (47 percent being aged 55 to 64 years).

  • Painting, drawing and street art are the most popular type of visual arts, attended by  50-60 percent of all age groups
  • Sculpture and photography is enjoyed by around a quarter of all age groups
  • Attendance at craft events increases from one in five 15-24 year olds to one in three of those over 65


Attendance at art galleries is on the rise and there is an opportunity to build attendance further

In 2009-10 over 4.5 million Australians aged 15 years and over visited an art gallery (26 percent of the Australian population).

This represented a significant increase (14 percent) in the participation rate in 2005-06.  A greater proportion of Australians are visiting galleries once or twice per year (66 percent) with one in 10 visiting galleries six times or more.

The proportion of Australians who visited a gallery once a year has risen from 8.3 percent in 2005-06 to 10.4 percent in 2009-10.

There is an opportunity to continue building engagement with these visitors and grow attendance.