Arts and Economy Essay Example


Arts and Economy

Question Attempted: 4

Arts and Economy


Economic development and technological changes have shrunk working hours and there is no doubt that such a trend will continue (Altbach, Reisberg and Rumbley, 2010). Even then, individuals seem to luck time for arts. When people perceive their time in terms of financial resources, they always become stingy as they tend to use the former to enhance the latter. Australians specifically value the arts since they believe that arts create a rich and meaningful life. Approximately, all Australians consume one form of art each year and about half of the population take part in arts creation (Smithies and Fujiwara, 2015). In the country, the participation of people in the arts has increased significantly over the years. People often participate in the arts in different ways. Research showed that almost all Australians attended live events, read art books and attended art galleries in 2013 (Smithies and Fujiwara, 2015). In the country, reading is considered the most common way people engage in the arts. Many people who do not physically participate in arts events and activities use the digital media to engage with arts. Use of the internet in accessing the arts has considerably increased.

Arts and cultural industry is very important to the economy of any country (Marsh et al., 2010). For instance, in Australia, it has generated more than $93 billion of GDP and has employed approximately 8 per cent of the country’s workforce (Smithies and Fujiwara, 2015). However, the economic challenge facing the art organisations is not necessarily that audiences are cash-poor but it’s because they are time-poor. This essay will highlight and justify the fact that audiences are time-poor, ways in which art organisations have adapted to attract the audience’s leisure dollar and the potential benefits and problems of such activities. The paper will also analyse this by drawing an example from a number of art sectors.

Arts are known to boost the economy in different ways (PWC, 2012). To start with, art is a source of tourist attraction, it creates employment to very many people, attracts businesses revitalising places and also develop talents among people (Fujiwarra and MacKerron, 2015). In health and wellbeing, various research studies have shown that art and cultural interventions have positive impact on conditions such as dementia, depression and aggression health issues. The use of effective art has the ability to facilitate social interaction and enable individuals receiving social care to pursue innovative and creative interests. For instance, dance is beneficial in reducing loneliness and minimizing depression, aggression and anxiety among individuals especially those in social care (Fujiwarra and MacKerron, 2015). With regard to its effects on society, it has been noted that participation and engagement in the arts contribute to societal cohesion, communities’ safety, and minimize social exclusion. In the education sector, taking part in music and dance activities contribute to greater maths attainment and early literacy and language accusation among the students. Schools in Australia that incorporate arts in their curriculum have shown higher mathematics scores (ABS, 2012). Art activities also enhance cognitive abilities. Students from poor families who engage in arts activities in school setting are more likely to get a degree than students from poor families who do not participate in arts activities.

Arts and audience

Arts organisations and practitioners have small and demographically limited audience (Fleming and Erskine, 2011). Many people tend to lack time to visit the art galleries and events. Most of the people do not get the art since they have limited knowledge of the arts. Leisure and recreation have various meanings that depend on the perceptions of an individual. Leisure involves activities such as attending galleries, watching television, writing a book, accessing social media to name a few (Simon, 2010). One’s own perception of leisure is very important. To add to this, leisure time is attributed to needs and interests. Many individuals take part in leisure activities as a way of relaxing and releasing pressure from work. Most of the time, there are passive sectors of entertainment they view from televisions and other digital media. Other motivations of leisure time are founded on the need to pursue excellence, express creativity, etc. (Paul and Kaufman, 2014). For others, competitive leisure may provide ways of realising aggression and struggles. Other people take part in activities such as community service for their leisure time. Others are deeply engrossed on forms of culture including drama, dance and fine art. In general, an important factor that influences one’s leisure time is the availability of the activity. Art is something that is seen every day in objects, clothing, city layouts etc. however many people do not have time for the arts since they lack knowledge of it. Therefore, arts organisations have the task of creating awareness among people of what entails art through various activities in order to attract people’s leisure dollar (Woodhead and Acker, 2014).

How Organisations Attract Audiences

Use of social media

In the era of 1080p HDTVs, almost every home has a computer and a mobile device. It is almost impossible to remember days when viewing media needed an individual to visit a theatre. According to a research conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts, people who closely and intimately engage with arts through the media are three times more compared to those who visit the live arts performances (Furphy, 2014). This is evidence that media-based art encourages the art attendance. It is very clear that social media impact the cultural and arts organisations ranging from huge museums to small arts organisations including Russian Art and Culture. Social media enable an organisation build a community of followers. For instance, Facebook and twitter are a good example of social media that allow arts organisations to be accessed by the researchers, members, academics and the public in general. Social media tend to act like a direct link where individuals can access to when they are visiting their social media pages during their free time. It is used to advertise promotional events that reach the public around the world (Mura, 2015).

We live in a community where a good number of individuals are connected through the internet (Boyd, 2014). People often allocate time to visit the internet even when they are perceived busy. Therefore, arts organisations take this opportunity to reach to the audiences. The convectional benefits of word of mouth advertisement are seen through the social media. People often trust the takes and opinions of the peers. For instance, ‘like ‘ on Facebook more often than not is a significant endorsement as it will attract the attention of the friends thus creating awareness of arts organisations in addition to acquiring new audiences. It is very wise for any arts organisation to invest in a resilient media approach in an attempt to reach the readers and customers. Taking advantage of the media as a means of attracting art audiences brings greater awareness and enhances the brand of any art organisation.

The reach for digital media use by the arts organisations does not stop once an audience has been attracted to the art venues. Many art organisations and practitioners have integrated technology and digital media into their actual performances. For instance, National Symphony has introduced real-time program notes discovered to the audience via the social media. Composers have even written songs that encourages use of computers and digital media during performances (Throsby and Zednik, 2010). However, although social media has led to the growth of awareness of the arts organisations, it has a number of economic disadvantages. Social media is considered time intensive. Social media is very interactive and in order for its use to be successful, then commitment is required. The nature of social network marketing involves establishing long-term audiences that can increase the sales. Thus, someone is required to be responsible to supervise each network, answer question, post oncoming events, post product information and respond to comments. Arts organisations with no service that manages these social networks will not successful lead to increase in sales. In addition, social media lack feedback control. One issue facing the social media that can damage the marketing campaign of the arts organisations is negative post Reponses. Unhappy customer or competitor can post disparaging comments and there is nothing much the organisation can do to avoid such occur ace. Therefore, arts organisations should thus effectively manage their social media pages in order to neutralize harmful posts (Canary and McPhee, 2011). However, doing this takes more time.

Among the art organisations using the social media to attract its audience are companies in photography, craft, modern art to name a few (Bishop, 2012). They capitalise on the audio visual ability of the Web to showcase their work and the results are worth mentioning. Due to the cost required in publishing glossy books and articles, photography organisations have assimilated online content sharing and promotion than many arts and cultural organisations. Photography is not limited by physical size and printing timelines thus they can create documentary photo location that highlights contributor work in more artistic way as demonstrated by Vewd and Blue eyes magazine. Gallery owners and photography publishers note that creation of a cohesive public presence is very easy when images are available across Flicker, homepages and thumbnail logos. For users, it is very easy and effective to spend as much time poring over artistic work on sites than having people crowding in a museum to view the same art (Adler and Sillars, 2011). Fresh photography content can also be shared in myriad way through Flak Photo. Flak Photo has six day photo newsletter, Facebook page in addition to Twitter handle (@flakphoto) that allows photography organisations or individuals promote their work. Slidelick Pot show is another example of photography-driven initiative to attract people’s leisure dollar. Slidelick Pot show have set up community photography evenings that encourages visual appreciation, art education and awareness, they also use blog content for extensive photo sharing that get the word out.

Museum attraction of audience

Fine art museum strive to attract great number of visitors but this faces an on-going challenge (McCathrthy and Jinnett, 2001). Being welcoming to a large number of visitors and upholding the effective presentation standards are the key elements that every museum should do. Achieving the balance between the two elements requires museum to put the need and interests of the people first with the same passion they have in creating stewardship of their creation. A good number of fine art museum have put themselves in their audience’s shoes and are adapting the mind-set and infrastructure that make the audiences want to spend their leisure time at their vicinity and feel welcome, cared for and engaged when they visit. And when they leave, they are likely to return. Creating an unforgettable experience for the audience that would make them want to return and spend their leisure dollar on their visit to the museum involve many considerations. To start with, museums have recognised that individual learn in a number of ways, so they have really interpreted their collections and planned new exhibitions and activities for their potential audience and the new visitors (Cuno, 2011).

Creation of a positive experience for the audience is more than just the expertise (McKever, Moore and Klise, 2013). It involves every individual in the museum ranging from the public relation department to marketing department, from the security staff who welcome the visitors at the gate to admission department. Some museum evaluates their staff members in relation to their service to the visitors and correlates their salary increase to customer-service training. Like any other organisation that interacts with the general public, art museums should strive to improve the customer’s experience. This covers every activity that happen from the moment the audience decide to visit the museum to when they first arrive. One factor that can make or break visitor experience is having information of finding a way through the museum readily available which should be effortless. In addition, museum audience want more seeing. Many museums have attempted to accommodate seating, food service and other amenities as best as they can. Galleries too crowded, offended by art exhibition, no place to sit for elderly people? When an audience goes out, they usually confront the staff in voicing their dissatisfaction. How staff response to the complaints is very important (Ferrell and Hartino, 2008). Many museums therefore prepare their staff members on how to react in case of public complaints and difficult working environment in interacting with the visitors. Museums have come a long way in developing ways of creating organisation culture that is welcoming and sensitive to the audience’s needs. They have incorporated staff training in conflict resolution, diversity awareness, knowledge on museum’s collections and customer service. Some have increased its hiring and compensation practices. This reflects their awareness in shaping its image and reputation in order to attract audience leisure time.

For instance, in 1997, Cleveland Museum of Art launched its audience-building initiative and introduced a visitor-centred training program that allowed all staff members to participate in (Kotler, 2008). Today, at Cleveland Museum of Art, every employee is require undertaking a 10-hour program that introduces its policies and standards of quality start with, the employs learn all about the museum from its history to its collection and get familiarized with what happens in the museum. In addition, all staff members receive a monthly calendar and internal mail that give them opportunity to choose from upcoming training programs. In other circumstances, the museum offer additional training. For instance, in anticipation of a great number of Latino audience, Cleveland Museum of Art hold Spanish class for all the employees. This has led to many visitors returning back due to the good service offered to them by the staff. Another example of a museum that has improved customer experiences is the Heard Museum. The museum announced a $16 million renovation plan in 1999 that was greeted with delight from the audiences (Unger, 2007). The museum made a number of improvements from expanding its galleries space and adding more seating areas and food services- developed in order to make visitations more enjoyable and rewarding. Other changes in the museum included a new gift shop and bookstore, new artist studio where the visitors could engage with them at work and more seating around the galleries (Simon, 2010). These activities allowed families engage with their children and have a confortable and enjoyable visit. Development of the activities that create culture that supports positive audience experience has led to the expansion of target audience in addition to creation of long-term visitors to the museums. However, economically, such activities require capital and thus they are considered very expensive undertakings that can drain all the revenue acquired by the museums.

Partnership between arts organisations

Partnership of art organisations is aimed at engaging more people of the same time increasing awareness, attracting new audiences and provides funding for the organisations (AbaF, 2011). Partnership between a small art organisation and large art organisation can enable them address certain challenges faced by each. With regard to the small art organisations, partnership with larger art organisation is a growth strategy that will help strengthen internal governance, financial capabilities and assist in attaining a larger audience. For the large arts organisations, partnering with the small organisations will enable them attract particular audience that have proved to be unreachable alone, build relationships at local community level and engage in outreach activities that will enable them create awareness (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2015). For example, a small Latino theatre strengthens their operation by partnering with larger theatre. As a result of the art partnership, the small theatre is able to hire a professional grant writer which can result to creation of grants and strengthen their accounting procedures. In addition, the smaller Latino theatre is able to acquire management expertise from the large organisation. The partnership between the two art organisations is able to plan series of events and activities that feature performances by Latino artists which can attract Latino audience. The large organisation would want to reach out to the local community but they would not know how to go about it. Partnering with the small art organisation would enable the larger organisation to reach out to the people in the Latino community. The above is an example of how small art organisation and large art organisation can partner together to attract more audience and enhance their brand awareness (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2015).

Partners’ benefits extend beyond the formal collaboration (Varbanova, 2013). Warm relations continue to prevail between partners. In addition, art organisation often makes new connections through their partners. Such connections can be the basis of other future partnerships. Art partnership of all types is bound to face difficulties. Characteristic challenges that result from large art organisation partnering with small art organisations include coordination problems due to differences in size and sometimes culture (Dinham, 2013). This can be in terms of the differences brought about by the number of staff members assigned to the partnership. Seating of meetings for the purpose of coordinating partnership between two different organisations is particularly very hard. Even with all participating partners having paid its staff, inconsistencies in terms of staff size can bring about frustrations and logistical difficulties. In addition, problem of mutual respect and influence may occur especially where the partnership is cross-ethical. Directors of small art organisation demand to be treated as full partners. Small organisations are overlooked and partnership tends not to be a win-win as it is aimed at satisfying the larger organisation. Another challenge that could potentially take place is strains on the administrative abilities in addition to strains in resources of the small art organisation with regard to the demands of the partnership. Partnerships can be time-consuming and expensive to maintain. For smaller arts organisations, taking part in a partnership initiative is a major commitment as they have the capacity of handling only limited amount of activities due to their limited administrative and financial resources (Carter, Ulrich and Goldsmith, 2005).


Leisure and recreation have various meanings that depend on the perceptions of an individual. People do not have time to participate in arts because they lack knowledge on the concept. Arts activities have positive benefits such as boosting the economy of a country, have positive impact on the wellbeing and health of people, contribute to societal cohesion, and improve early language acquisition among the students. With so many benefits attributed to it, arts are a concept worth sorted after. However, the greatest economic challenge facing the arts organisations is the fact that audiences are time-poor. For this, arts organisations have positioned themselves in various ways in order to attract audiences’ leisure dollar. Some of the ways arts organisations are doing this is through partnerships between small art organisations and large arts organisations, use of social media and creation of positive experience for their audiences especially in the museum arts.


AbaF 2011, AbaF survey of private sector support for the arts, 2009–10, Australia.

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2012, Participation in Selected Cultural Activities, Australia, 2010–11, Table 6, (cat. no. 4921.0), 21 February.

Adler, L & Sillars, R 2011, The linked photographers’ guide to online marketing and social media, Boston, MA, Course Technology.

Altbach, P., Reisberg, L & Rumbley, L 2010, Trends in global higher education : tracking an academic revolution, Paris Rotterdam, the Netherlands Boston, UNESCO Pub. Sense Publishers.

Bishop, C 2012, Artificial hells : participatory art and the politics of spectatorship, London New York, Verso Books.

boyd, d. 2014, It’s complicated: the social lives of networked teens, New Haven, Yale University Press.

Canary, H & McPhee, R 2011, Communication and organizational knowledge contemporary issues for theory and practice, New York, Routledge.

Carter, L., Ulrich, D & Goldsmith, M 2005, Best practices in leadership development and organization change how the best companies ensure meaningful change and sustainable leadership, San Francisco, Pfeiffer.

Cuno, J 2011, Museums matter: in praise of the encyclopedic museum, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Ferrell, O & Hartline, M 2008, Marketing strategy, Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western.

Fleming, T and Erskine, A 2011, Supporting growth in the arts economy, Arts Council England.

Fujiwarra D and MacKerron G 2015, Cultural Activities, Art forms and Wellbeing, Arts Council England, January

Furphy J 2014, Australian Art Sales Digest: Australian Art Auction Sales By Artist Source,

Kotler, N., Kotler, P. & Kotler, W 2008, Museum marketing and strategy designing missions, building audiences, generating revenue and resources, San Francisco, CA., Jossey Bass.

Marsh K, MacKay S, Morton D, Parry W, Bertranou E, Lewsie J, Sarmah R, Dolan P 2010, Understanding the Value of Engagement in Culture and Sport, report for the Culture and Sport Evidence Program, July

McCarthy, K. & Jinnett, K 2001, A new framework for building participation in the arts, Santa Monica, CA: RAND.

McKever, R., Moore, E & Klise, M 2013, Careers in art history, London, Association of Art Historians (AAH).

Mura, G 2015, Analyzing art, culture, and design in the digital age, Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

Paul, E & Kaufman, S 2014, The philosophy of creativity: new essays, New York, Oxford University Press.

PWC 2012, The Economic Contribution of Australia’s Copyright Industries 1996–97 to 2010–11, Prepared for the Australian Copyright Council, 15 August

Saunders, M., Lewis, P & Thornhill, A 2015, Research methods for business students, Harlow, Pearson Education Limited.

Simon, N 2010, The participatory museum, Santa Cruz, Calif, Museum 2.0.

Smithies R and Fujiwara D 2015, ‘Getting the measure of happiness: The arts and subjective wellbeing in Australia,’ in Australian Council for the Arts, Arts Nation: An Overview of Australian Arts, March p.41.

Throsby D and Zednik A 2010, Do You Really Expect to Get Paid? An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia, report for the Australia Council, August.

Unger, I. & Unger, D 2007, The times were a changin’ the Sixties reader, New York, Three Rivers Press.

Woodhead A and Acker T 2014, The Art Economies Value Chain reports: Synthesis, CRCREP Research Report CR004, Ninti One Limited, Alice Springs.