Cultural Benefits

Culture Builds Community!

From improving physical and mental wellbeing to attracting business and tourism, research shows that the areas of arts, multiculturalism, heritage and cultural industries build quality of life in Saskatchewan.

Share these facts and images to help promote the benefits of culture in your community!

Download the Cultural Benefits PDF for more information and sources on each of these sections.


Who participates in cultural activities?


Text: Did you know? In 2016, 99.5% of Canadians (15 or older) participated in an arts, culture, or heritage activity. (Kelly Hill, Canadians’ Arts, Culture, and Heritage Participation in 2016) Culture Builds Community!

  • 86% of Canadians attended an arts activity, such as a performing arts event or artistic or cultural festival (68%), an art gallery (39%), 70% visited a heritage site, such as an art gallery (39%), another type of museum (35%), a historic site (50%). (49)


  • Exactly one-half of Canadians (50%) made or performed art (crafts, music, visual arts, writing, dancing, etc.) (49)


  • 73% Canadians, nearly three-quarter, attended an arts performance or exhibition which includes art galleries, performing arts, and artistic or cultural festival. (49)
Participation in cultural activity teaches us to be more empathetic towards the people of other cultures.
  • This development of compassion and empathy, as opposed to development of greed and a "me first" attitude, provides a bridge across cultural chasms that leads to respect of other races at an early age. (1)
  • Immigrants in the workforce help enhance creativity, productivity and decision-making through diverse approaches. (36)
  • Dance, music, photography and other visual arts transcend language. The arts promote a deeper understanding of similarities and differences among religions, race and cultural traditions. (51)
  • Engagement with the arts can help societies counter economic, cultural and political divisions. (51)
  • A recent research reports that schoolchildren around age 11 who learned about the music and culture of a faraway land expressed warmer feelings toward immigrants from that country than those who did not. What's more, those positive emotions were still evident three months after this exposure to the foreign culture. (52)
  • Music can inspire people to travel to other emotional worlds. (52)
  • Participation in the arts can relieve isolation and promote identity formation and intercultural understanding. (53)
  • Europeans widely accept the need to know one or more foreign languages. They are committed to second language programming in schools and other language-related initiatives. The study of at least one foreign language in the primary or secondary school system is obligatory in virtually all European countries. The ability to speak another language provides individuals with a distinct advantage in cultural sensitivity in global markets. (43)


Did you know that culture contributes to communities by…


Text: Did you know? In 2016, 99.5% of Canadians (15 or older) participated in an arts, culture, or heritage activity. (Kelly Hill, Canadians’ Arts, Culture, and Heritage Participation in 2016) Culture Builds Community!

  • … helping engage and connect citizens.
One Scholar identified five key characteristics of a successful community: abundant social capital (cultural opportunities, and facilities, safety, health care and socialibility); strong connections with the outside world; a willingess to welcome and integrate newcomers; the ability to innovate; and the capacity to collaborate. Most of these characteristics can be developed through cultural participation. (4)

Fifty-nine per cent of arts patrons, 18 years and older, agree strongly that local arts activities and performances help make their community more lively and vibrant. Forty-three per cent of arts patrons, 18 years and older, agree strongly that local arts activities and performances help people in their community connect with one another. (11)

Creating spaces for people to interact with neighbours through local events, street parties, sports, arts and culture events, consultation and community planning work are proven to be effective at engaging residents and helping to support strong social networks and working to breakdown barriers and reduce tensions between different social, faith or ethnic groups. (38)

Studies in general testify that cultural participation can contribute to social relationships, community cohesion, and/or make communities feel safer and stronger. (50)

Canadians believe that the presentation of performing arts brings energy and vitality to communities, improves quality of life and well-being of residents, makes communities more creative and fosters a stronger sense of pride and identity. (54)

Approximately 87% of Canadians feel that live performance spaces in their community contribute to quality of life. (54)

Nine in ten Canadians believe they get personal benefits out of attending professional performing arts. Most perceive the main benefit to be the entertainment experience of it (84%), but other benefits are recognized, such as emotional, spiritual or intellectual stimulation, an opportunity to experience something new, exposure to different cultures, and opportunities to socialize. (54)

Two in three Canadians (65%) believe that the community as a whole benefits more or as much as individual attendees from the presentation of the performing arts. (54)

Approximately 94% of Canadians believe that arts and culture make a community a better place to live. (54)

A study revealed that 8 of 10 Canadians believe that live theatre is important to making communities vibrant places to live. (54)

Approximately 79% of Canadians consider that arts and heritage experiences makes them feel part of their local community. (54)

Canadians who regularly attend live music are almost twice as likely to have stronger sense of belonging to their city or town compared to those who don't attend. (54)

Canadians who rate arts, culture and leisure in their community as “excellent” are nearly three times more likely to report a “very strong” sense of belonging to their city or town. (54)
  • … enhancing teamwork skills, self-discipline and perseverance.
In order for an orchestra to sound good, or to master a dance performance, all players must work together harmoniously towards a single goal, the performance, and must commit to learning, attending rehearsals, and practicing. (1) 

It is now well-documented through studies that engagement in the arts and cultural activities has beneficial, measurable effects on cognitive development in children – fostering creativity, problem-solving, team-building and communication skills, discipline, and direction- all desirable citizen qualities.(17)

Learning to play a musical instrument, rehearsing a play or executing a mosaic mural requires long hours of practice, focus and perseverance, all components of self-discipline - traits that many at-risk youth are desperately lacking. (3)

We all know that dancing is an art and a skill, but what we don’t realize is that dancing brings perfect harmony into our minds, bodies, partners, and music. (59)

Students who have the opportunity to perform often feel a sense of accomplishment, which can motivate them to achieve elsewhere as well. (64)

Despite the fact that art is usually an individual effort, children are constantly exposed to that learning curve that benefits the development of resilience, critical thinking, observation, problem-solving skills, appreciation and self-expression. (66)

Music, dance, theatre, drawing, and painting can help kids develop their social skills and better regulate their emotions. (69)

Another study has found that through visual art studio classes, students develop habits of mind for sustained focus, imagination, close observation and articulation of their decision-making process. (70)

Research on students involved in arts education shows that they learn how to communicate effectively, practice constructive criticism and listen better. (70)
  • … increasing diversity and vitality.
By 2031, it is estimated nearly half (46%) of Canadians aged 15 and over would be foreign-born or have at least one foreign-born a parent. Also, 47% of second-generation Canadians (at least one parent born outside Canada) would belong to a visible minority group, nearly double the proportion of 24% in 2006. Currently, 15% of Regina and 10% of Saskatoon’s residents are foreign-born, and 12% of Regina and 13% of Saskatoon residents are a visible minority. (48)

Communities generate social stability by mixing more permanent residents with people who come and go. Those who stay for extended periods provide the continuity, whole newcomers provide the diversity and interplay that generates the creative mix. Newcomers have to feel welcome to your community. (97)

Studies show that uni-cultural activity often leads to intercultural participation. The report indicates that the most effective way to bring people of different cultural backgrounds together is through annual festivals where the uniqueness of each culture is shared through food, crafts or entertainment. (22)

Canada has embraced diversity, or cultural pluralism as some people refer to it, in both policy and practice. It is viewed as one of Canada’s most important attributes, socially and economically. (29)

Canada’s experience with diversity distinguishes it from most other countries. Our 35 million plus population reflects a cultural, ethnic and linguistic makeup found nowhere else on earth. (29)

At the community level, the arts have been found to foster social cohesion and community identity by promoting multicultural understanding. (45)

A majority of respondents (87%) strongly supported the nations that immigrants make a valuable contribution to Saskatchewan and consider current levels of immigration appropriate for the province’s needs. Only slight less (73%) agreed that immigrants should be encouraged to retain their cultural heritage. (46)

A majority (74%) of respondents agree that Indigenous people will make an important contribution to Saskatchewan’s future economy. And believe that public investments in Indigenous education pay off in the long run. (47)

Diversity activities teach young children to respect and celebrate the differences in all people. Learning about different cultural aspects offers new experiences for children. (60)

Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their respective national industry medians. (61)

Having a strong sense of their own cultural history and the traditions associated with it helps children build a positive cultural identity for themselves. (62)

Talking with children about differences allows them to feel good about who they are and appreciate diversity in themselves and others. (62)

Students can learn better how to navigate adulthood in an increasingly diverse society—a skill that employers value—if they attend diverse schools. (63)

Approximately 95% of Canadians believe that arts experiences are a valuable way of bringing together people from different languages and cultural traditions. (54)
  • … encouraging pro-social behaviours.
Research has indicated that children who participate in cultural activities generally gain and improve skills, as well as learn how to interact with others. (2)

Dance and writing are used with elders and adolescents to engage both verbal and nonverbal ways of knowing and helping them express “the complex physical, social and psychological issues in their lives.” (16)

Organized youth activities, such as cultural activities, can deter risky behaviour in adolescents. Students who participate in band, orchestra, chorus or a school play, for example, are significantly less likely than non-participants to drop out of school, be arrested, use drugs or engage in binge drinking. (3)

Findings by researchers indicate improved life skills by participants of youth arts programs including an increased ability to express anger appropriately, to communicate effectively with adults and peers and to work co-operatively to resolve conflicts. (24)

Arts shouldn’t be seen as an optional extra, beyond the proper “academic” subjects. We need an education that is holistic and values the visual as much as numeracy and literacy. Students who engage in arts in school are twice as likely to volunteer and more than 20% more likely to vote. (36)
  • … supporting those in need.
Arts and cultural activities benefit communities by providing members with a sense of attachment to the community. Delinquency is often explained by the absence of strong bonds to society. (21)

Public libraries strengthen communities by ensuring that people of all ages and economic statures in Saskatchewan have equitable access to information. (27)

A strong arts presence was correlated with reduced poverty and population growth, while areas with poor arts development had declining population’s and lower incomes. (45)

There is strong evidence that participation in the arts can contribute to community cohesion, reduce social exclusion and isolation, and/or make communities feel safer and stronger. (65)

Socially and economically disadvantaged children and teenagers who have high levels of arts engagement or arts learning show more positive outcomes in a variety of areas than their low- arts-engaged peers. (49)

Cultural participation has a significant impact on people’s quality of life, contributes greatly to their well-being and helps them integrate into society. (71)
  • … building self-esteem and self-confidence.
Children who participate in organized activities outside of school, such as sports, music, the arts or clubs, tend to have higher self-esteem, interact better with friends and perform somewhat better in school. (12)

Culturally-based programs in areas of art, drama music and dance provide a different, but equally important, means of building skills in creative thinking, decision-making and problem- solving. They foster social skills including co-operative work, negotiation, conflict resolution and tolerance for difference, as well as personal skills such as individual responsibility, perseverance, self-management and integrity. (45)

Activities like yoga and dance can help develop coordination and motor control. Drama classes can help kids with reading comprehension. And chess or robotics club can build problem-solving skills. (67)

Studies measuring creative thinking, critical thinking, and problem solving and reasoning all find these functions increase and improve when arts education is added to the educational mix. (70)
  • … expressing a shared sense of community pride.
Canadian culture is the shared experience of being Canadian. Through books and magazines, radio and television programs, films, multimedia, art and theatre, museums and historic sites, Canadian culture helps us to understand and to celebrate our lives as Canadians. (29)

By encouraging citizens to express themselves, the arts can help revitalize communities and provide a sense of identity, cohesion, pride, responsibility and power. (10)

One of the most distinguishing features of local culture is the crucial role ordinary citizens have in expressing it…local plays , variety concerts, festivals, craft fairs, heritage days and other events turn mechanics and real estate salesmen into artisans and amateur performers. (28)

From murals, songs and dances to museums, stages, landscapes and built environments, in cities, suburbs, and towns, the arts make the places we live in better. Not only do the arts provide the grounding of identity and the creation of spirit in communities, they also provide jobs and incentives for community improvement, and help to attract new residents and visitors. (17)

Culture, in all its forms, is the essence and key expression of our identity and heritage as Canadians. (31)

Communities earn a reputation as fun, festive and welcoming when their immigrant population is visibly celebrated and accepted. (36)

By bringing people together, cultural activities such as festivals, fairs, or classes create social solidarity and cohesion, fostering social inclusion, community empowerment, and capacity-building, and enhancing confidence, civic pride, and tolerance. (53)


Did you know that participation in the arts…


Text: Did you know? Research shows that studying and participating in the arts at an early age increases learning capacity. (Canadian Conference of the Arts, Advocacy Primer for the Federal Election) Culture Builds Community!

  • … contributes to academic achievement.
Participation in the arts encourages students to think creatively and to solve problems by imagining various solutions, rejecting outdated rules and assumptions. Questions about the arts do not have only one right answer. (1)

Both 8th grade and high school students who had high levels of arts engagement were more likely to aspire to college than were students with less arts engagement. (49)

Students who had intensive arts experiences in high school were three times more likely than students who lacked those experiences to earn a bachelor’s degree. They also were more likely to earn “mostly A’s” in college. (49)

Young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours, three days a week, over a year, are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, participate in a math or science fair, or win an award for an essay or poem, and three times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools, or be recognized for school attendance. (12)

Research has demonstrated that studying and participating in the arts at an early age increases the capacity for learning. The arts enhance skills such as problem-solving, creativity, self- discipline, critical thinking, recognition and respect for differences, understanding of the self and others, and communicative abilities. (12)

The arts give youngsters a richer reservoir of information to draw upon in pursuing other subjects, such as reading, writing, mathematics and history. Drawing helps writing; song and poetry make facts memorable; drama makes history more vivid and real; and creative movement makes processes understandable. (3)

Research has found that the arts are an effective method to develop cognitive skills. The arts improve critical thinking, problem-posing, problem-solving and decision-making skills. They foster high-order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation, as well as developing children’s imagination and judgement. (25)

Researchers found a correlation between high involvement in art and sport activities with better academic scores and lower high school dropout rates among all students. (25)

In a study of at-risk students enrolled in arts classes, a majority of the students indicated that their participation in the arts influenced their decision to stay in school. They saw benefits in hands-on involvement, opportunities for individual expression, pride in creative accomplishment, and an environment of high standards and expectations. (26)

At-risk teenagers or young adults with a history of intensive arts experiences show achievement levels closer to, and in some cases exceeding, the levels shown by the general population studied. (49)

Students who learn to perform learn valuable skills that help in classrooms and beyond, such as public speaking, verbal skills, memorization, emotional intelligence, literacy, and so on. All developed by reading and rehearsing a play. (64)

It is thought that brain development continues for many years after birth. Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain's circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds. (1)

New research suggests that, over time, engaging in those musical and challenging activities effectively rewires the brain, allowing it to complete complex assignments with greater ease. (72)

Recent findings show that musicians and bilinguals require less effort to perform the same task. These skills could protect them against cognitive decline, and delay the outset of dementia. (72)

Close to 95% of Canadians say arts education assists in the intellectual development of children. (54)

Taking part in structured music activities improves attainment in maths, early language acquisition and early literacy. (65)

Learning and performing music actually exercises the brain, not merely by developing specific music skills, but also by strengthening the synapses between brain cells. Synapses grow stronger with use and become weaker with disuse. Making music activity engages the brain synapses and there is good reason to believe that this strengthening of synapses increases the brain’s capacity. (18)

A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reported that music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and science. (20)

Across cultures, it appears, training on a musical instrument improves kids’ verbal memory. An 18-month study suggests “a positive transfer effect from the musical expertise into speech and language processing.” The researchers note that no similar effect was found for kids taking an enriched academic curriculum. (42)

Kids’ brain power is radically boosted by learning to play music than just listening to it. Even kids who’ve had 20 minutes a day of music lessons – which isn’t a whole lot – will after a year demonstrate changes in how their nervous system responds to sound, be it music or speech. (52)

Playing an instrument teaches the brain to enhance relevant sounds in complex processes – a skill especially helpful to those with learning disabilities that make them vulnerable to background noise. (52)

Music does for the brain, what exercise does for the body. Musicians have more brain grey matter volume in areas that are important for playing an instrument and in the auditory cortex, which processes all kinds of sound. The benefits of music training transfer to speech, language, emotion and general auditory processing. (53)

Engagement in structured arts and culture improves the cognitive abilities of children and young people. (73)

Participation in arts interventions has been linked with improving cognitive function and memory, general self-esteem and well-being, as well as reducing stress and other common symptoms of dementia, such as aggression, agitation, and apathy. (74)

Improve the bond between the two halves of your brain? Anything counts, from reading a novel or going to the theatre, to writing a poem – even doodling. (75)

Research has indicated that children can learn to remember things more effectively through creative activities like drawing. (76)

One study revealed that dancers tested better on memory and motion processing than non-dancers and musicians demonstrated better auditory-visual discrimination and aural recognition than non-musicians. (70)

It has been proven that art-related activities like painting and drawing can boost self-esteem (68)

Art offers children more opportunities than any other activity, for self-expression, and allow children to showcase their abilities, and to be recognized by their skills at home and school, strengthening their confidence and self-esteem. (66)

Art works as a lab for children to explore in a safe environment trial and error with instant results, whether the results are satisfactory or disappointing, children who do art are constantly exposed to that learning curve that benefits the development of resilience, critical thinking, observation, problem-solving skills, appreciation and self-expression. (66)

For the 1.57 billion children and youth in 190 countries - 90% of the world's student population - whose schools have been closed for prolonged periods during the past few months, the arts and culture have proven a remarkably effective way of engaging chuldren to continue learning from home. (102)

A 2019 study by Rice University involving over 10,000 students showed that experiences provided through school-community partnerships with local arts organizations, cultural institutions, and teaching-artists imrpoved school engagement, further education aspirations, and arts-facilitated empathy. (102)
  • … builds social capital.
Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates (58.6%) of volunteer participation in the country. (5)

Many cultural organizations exist today thanks to the inspiration and efforts of volunteers. Thousands of volunteers continue to be the cornerstone of cultural activity in the province. Cultural volunteers may seek to enrich the quality of their lives through the donation of their time and energy; however, they also enhance the quality of life of all residents through their work. (4)

Young adults who had intensive arts experiences high school are more likely to show civic- minded behavior than young adults who did not. They take an interest in current affairs, as evidenced by comparatively high levels of volunteering, voting and engagement with local or school politics. (49)

As a vehicle for increasing civic participation, the arts and culture can help overcome passivity and a sense of alienation and isolation. (12)

Immigrants are more likely than Canadian –born citizens to take an interest in local politics. They are a strong volunteer base and tend to have high voter turnout rates. (36)

Creative place-making, which links community, economic and cultural development planning around a sense of place and its assets, results in a wide range of positive outcomes, including job creation, strengthening networks, building social capital and community capacity. (39)

Participation in cultural and recreational programs have been found to promote social connectedness in communities and shape civic behaviour later in life. (45)

A recent study provides evidence that the arts can act as a key social psychological catalyst that can foster and maintain social co-operation. (51)

Arts participation and attendance independently were among the strongest predictors of charitable giving and volunteering. (51)
  • … teaches young people to conquer fear and to take risks.
A little anxiety is a good thing, and something that will occur often in life. Dealing with it early and often makes it less of a problem later. Risk-taking is essential if a child is to fully develop his or her potential. Music, in particular, contributes to mental health and can help prevent risky behavior such as teenage drug abuse, which often leads to institutionalization. (1)

Seventy per cent of educators surveyed about the ArtsSmarts programs reported behavioral changes in students and increased student engagement in school. “Problem students” showed significant artistic skill and leadership in projects and lower absenteeism. (12)

The arts are the forces that help people adapt to new circumstances, that stimulate new ideas that promote flexibility, and that create possibilities where before there were only obstacles. (14)

Prescribing a social activity like taking a yoga class, visiting an art gallery or joining a knitting circle has proven to be an effective tool in the UK, where research has shown that not only do patients benefit from a mental-health boost, but many also end up with reduced medications and find less need to visit their doctors. (95)
  • … generates economic benefits.
A vibrant arts community is critical when corporations decide where to locate and when people decide where to work. (28)

Great cities are places where people from virtually any background are welcome to turn their energy and ideas into innovations and wealth. By supporting lifestyle and cultural institutions like a cutting-edge music scene or vibrant artistic community, for instance, helps to attract and stimulate those who create in business and technology. (32)

Foreign direct investment into Canada is far greater from countries that are well- represented in Canada through immigration. Immigration rates improve trade between Canada and immigrants’ countries of origin. (36)

The most important factor to the economic sustainability of community is distinctiveness: a community’s unique collection of qualities and characteristics. Whether they are visual, cultural, social, environmental, characteristics are that which provide meaning to a location, sense of place is what makes one city or town different from another; but, sense of place is also what makes our physical surroundings worth caring about. (37)

Economic benefits come both from direct job in the cultural and arts industries and through indirect spin-offs from tourism, local investment and export products. The arts can have a positive impact on urban quality of life through health outcomes, social cohesion and urban revitalization. (45)

Evidence suggests that cultural industries, which can compass everything from the performing arts and museums to film production and video games, contribute to gross domestic product and employment and can improve a country’s foreign trade position and competitiveness. (58)

Businesses that embrace diversity have a more solid footing in the marketplace than others. (77)

Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their respective national industry medians. (61)

Almost 65% of businesses and skilled workers agree that a thriving arts and culture scene is a driving factor when considering relocation. (54)

The live performance domain contributed $2.7 billion to the Canadian Gross Domestic Product in 2016. (54)

Approximately 86% of Canadians believe that the arts and cultural activities are important to a community’s economic well-being. (54)

Another study showed that students who participate in arts education as youth stay in their local communities as adults and contribute to economic and civic growth. (70)
  • … provides people of all ages with a means of self-expression.
Now that there is relative security in the basics of existence, the challenge is to make life meaningful and to reach for a higher stage of development. Everyone needs to be in touch at some time in his/her life with his core, with what he/she is and what he/she feels. Self-esteem is a by- product of this self-expression. (1)

Research confirms that youth vandalize with graffiti and join gangs in search of recognition, achievement and self-expression. Cultural activities provide a positive way to address these needs. (2)

Activity in the brain region linked to introspection and self-referential though suggests “self- relevance is an integral aspect of “intensely moving” aesthetic experiences. This activation allows the poem, play or painting “to interact with the neural processes related to the self, affect them, and possibly even be incorporated into them.” (40)

Changes in body image may be expressed through movement and dance. Drama offers the opportunity to explore identity by integrating childhood roles and experimenting with future possibilities. Music expresses emotional dissonance and volatility. The visual arts provide a vehicle for translating inner experiences to outward visual images. Writing and oral history projects bring a greater understanding of one’s family and neighbourhood. (4)
  • … contributes to personal health and wellness.
An independent think tank explored the impact participating in arts activities had on health and found that over half of those surveyed reported feeling healthier, nearly three-quarters felt happier, 80% had learned new skills, and 84% felt more confident.(12)

Music in particular helps us keep active. Listening to music competes for our brain’s attention, and can help us to override signals of fatigue when exercising. Not only can we push through the pain to exercise longer and harder, but music helps us use our energy more efficiently. (34)

Men who enjoy taking in the ballet or browsing art museums are more likely to be happy with their lives and satisfied with their health than men who don’t enjoy the finer things in life. Results suggest that encouraging cultural participation may be one way to encourage healthfulness. (50)

Musicians retain the ability to distinguish speech in noisy conditions far longer than non- musicians. Researcher reported that playing music seem to delay the decay in the aging brain’s central auditory processing system. (51)

Drawing, painting, or molding objects from clay has been scientifically proven to help people to deal with different kinds of trauma. Arts helps people express experiences that are too difficult to put into words, such as a diagnosis of cancer. (79)

Research shows that engaging in creative-arts therapy - which can include visual arts, dance theatre, and poetry – can reduce pain and anxiety, help people cope with depression and trauma, and aid in treatments for addiction. (80)

Research across an international arena suggests that engagement with the arts can have a significant positive impact, especially for people with a range of mental health problems (dementia, anxiety, depression, psychosis and substance misuse), and is widely used in healthcare settings in Britain, Ireland, Australia, Canada and the USA. (81)

Using the arts to increase well-being is widely recognised as an innovative healing approach with well-documented research demonstrating positive therapeutic outcomes for people with both physical and mental health problems. (81)

The arts can help keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer lives better lived. (100)

The arts can help meet major challenges facing health and social care: ageing, long-term conditions, loneliness and mental health. (100)

Arts and culture interventions have been shown to help offenders seek to develop a new, more positive identity and restore a sense of agency in the world. (101)


Did you know that dancing…


Text: Did you know? Engaging in dance can help kids manage stress, develop their confidence and improve their quality of life. (Georgia Snow, Dance can boost young people’s health and confidence study) Culture Builds Community!

  • … contributes to both physical and mental well-being.
Engaging in dance can help young people manage stress, develop their confidence and improve their overall quality of life. (78)

Ballet dance technique is both physically and mentally demanding, therefore students, from a young age, learn about self-discipline, commitment, and responsibility. (55)

Just as the essentials of ballet training strengthen disciplinary skills, they similarly build the dancer’s understanding of spatial relations, geometry, physics, and other math and science principles. (56)

Dance teaches children creativity and discipline. It nurtures creativity, encourage original thinking and problem solving – essential skills for the workforce of a successful economy. (57)

Dancing encourages children to develop self-discipline. Learning to dance will help with your child’s fitness, co-ordination and self-esteem as well as broadening their social margins. (58)

Dance can help loneliness and alleviating depression and anxiety among people in social care environments. (65)

A study focusing on breast cancer survivors found that dancing helped to improve shoulder function in participants, and that it had a positive impact on their body image. (79)


Did you know that the study of music…


Text: Did you know? Music can lower your stress level, make you healthier, ease pain and enhance your creativity in all areas of your life. (Cassandra Sheppard, The Neuroscience of Singing) Culture Builds Community!

  • … helps develop areas of the brain involved in language and reasoning.
Engagement with creative activities has the potential to contribute toward reducing stress and depression and can serve as a vehicle for alleviating the burden of chronic disease. (82)

Taking part in creative activities such as the arts had the most direct influence in improving a person’s wellbeing in later life, activities included dancing, playing a musical instrument, visiting museums, photography, singing, painting and writing. (83)

Drawing and painting can help kids deal with pain and other disturbing symptoms of illness and treatment. (84)

Drama can help children act out feelings and process hurt in a safe environment. (84)

A growing body of research also demonstrates that the arts can improve the health and well-being of older adults. (53)

Research has shown that revitalization of Indigenous cultures plays a key role in supporting the health, well-being, and healing of individuals and communities. (53)

Research shows that people who spend many hours practicing a musical instrument not only process information unusually efficiently, they also do a superior job of not letting occasional errors derail them. These findings suggest that playing a musical instrument might improve the ability to monitor our behaviour and adjust our responses effectively when needed. This evidence could promote musical activity as a realistic intervention to slow or even present (at least one type of) age-related decline. (35)

It’s not just kids that benefit. Stroke patients in one study showed improved visual attention while listening to classical music. (33)

Listening to certain classical works – including those by Mozart – helps ease the debilitating symptoms of clinical depression. The evidence suggests that some baroque music can have beneficial effects on depressed patients. Music can activate several processes which facilitate brain development and/or plasticity, and may increase dopamine levels in the brain. (54)

Choirs are involved in the social fabric of their communities. For example, 68% of responding choirs did community outreach (such as singing at hospitals, support facilities or other community events), and 62% performed at charity concerts or singing engagements in 2016. (96)

A 2019 study, co-led by the United States Association of Art Museum Directors, showed that a single visit to an art museum stimulated curiosity, and improved creative thinking, communication skills and human connections. (102)
  • … helps students learn the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence.
Learning a musical instrument takes time and patience. This concentrated effort to move forward, is important to helping young people see the impact of their efforts. (1)

Qualitative data shows that arts activities gave young people a sense of pride and achievement, motivated young people who were often difficult to motivate, changed group dynamics based on aggression and conflict to a more supportive atmosphere, and allowed participants to explore personal issues through activities such as story-telling. (23)

Research shows that people have better “musical sophistication” in periods of their lives with more flexibility, such as at school, university or when they are self-employed. Late adolescence is where a peak stage is reached for sophisticated engagement with music. (41)
  • … develops skills that are necessary in the workplace.
It focuses on "doing," as opposed to observing, and teaches students how to perform, literally, anywhere in the world. Employers are looking for multi-dimensional workers with the sort of flexible and supple intellects that music education helps to create. In the music classroom, students can also learn to better communicate and cooperate with one another. (1)
  • … contributes to emotional and psychological well-being.
Creating music makes the elderly healthier. Researchers found that there were significant decreases in anxiety, depression and loneliness following piano lessons. (13)

Music can lower your stress level, make you healthier, ease pain and enhance your creativity in all areas of your life. (85)

The neuroscience of singing shows that when we sing our neurotransmitters connect in new and different ways. It fires up the right temporal lobe of our brain, releasing endorphins that make us smarter, healthier, happier and more creative. When we sing with other people this effect is amplified. (85)

Studies show that a musician's brain is a more efficient brain—and perhaps a more resilient one as well. (72)

92% of Canadians believe that exposure to arts and culture is important to individual well-being. (54)

82% of Canadians believe engagement with the arts leads to good health and well-being. (54)

In health and wellbeing, a number of studies have reported findings of applied arts and cultural interventions and measured their positive impact on specific health conditions which include dementia, depression and Parkinson’s disease. (73)

The use of art, when delivered effectively, has the power to facilitate social interaction as well as enabling those in receipt of social care to pursue creative interests. (73)

New research finds that exposure to the natural world lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing stress.  (79)

Findings from a study suggest that music intervention could have a particularly strong effects on the communications skills and mood of both residents and staff. (98)

Music sessions could lead to an enhanced mood that moves residents from withdrawal to expression, and a changing atmosphere the lifts the mood of residents and care staff alike. (98)

The use of percussion instruments could stimulate residents by encouraging a physical response to the beat of the music that encourages physical exercise. (98)

Music interventions can play a role in awakening a sense of identity and empowerment of care home residents. (98)

A research finds that many patients express that music-making is a means of building community that gives them a sense of belonging, and that equitable access to music-making is very important. (99)


Did you know that singing…


Text: Did you know? Singing helps people with depression feel connected, and reduces feelings of loneliness and stress. (Cassandra Sheppard, The Neuroscience of Singing) Culture Builds Community!

  • … can be a powerful and moving experience and could contribute to quality of life, well-being and even physical health.
Findings from a study suggest a significantly greater improvement in mental health quality of life in individuals who participate in group singing for 12 weeks compared to those continuing with normal activities. (86)

Engaged in a valued, meaningful, worthwhile activity like singing gives one a sense of purpose and motivation. (87)

When you sing, you feel a sense of being absorbed in an activity which draws on multiple capacities of the body and the mind. (87)

Singing enhances physical relaxation and release of physical tension, emotional release and reduction of feelings of stress. (87)

Singing helps people with depression and reduces feelings of loneliness, leaving people feeling relaxed, happy and connected. What’s more, the benefits of singing regularly are cumulative. People who sing have reduced levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress. (85)

Singing increases self-awareness, self-confidence and our ability to communicate with others. It decreases stress, comforts us and helps us to forge our identity and influence our world. (85)

What has not been understood until recently is that singing in groups triggers the communal release of serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and even synchronises our heart beats. (85)

One of the great things about singing is that is connects you to the right side of your brain. This is the side responsible for intuition, imagination and all our creative functions. (85)


Did you know that exploring heritage…


Text: Did you know? Understanding ones culture helps children understand themselves and the images others have of them. (President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Coming Up Taller) Culture Builds Community!

  • … can provide youth with insight into their sense of self.
Understanding ones culture helps children understand themselves and the images other have of them. This knowledge can help bind them more fully to the larger society of which they are a part. (Coming Up Taller, President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, 1999)

Students do not necessarily understand that they have traditional art, knowledge and culture. Studying folk arts and traditional culture bolsters self-esteem as it provides students with the realization of what they already know and understand. (19)

When children speak the language of their parents, grandparents, and siblings, they experience a sense of belonging to a family, community and culture. Communicating with children in the native language helps to promote a sense of connectedness among the child, the family and the heritage culture and community. (55)

Numerous reports have proven that students who have studied a foreign language perform much better than their monolingual peers on many standardized tests. (56)

Research into the effects of bilingualism on children suggests that exposure to more than one language is an excellent way of flexing those brain muscles. Bilingual children showed a significantly larger density of “grey matter” in their brains...responsible for processing information, including memory, speech and sensory perception. (56)
  • … helps us understand and value our shared sense of place.
Saskatchewan is the site of North America’s oldest bird sanctuary, established in 1887 at Last Mountain Lake. (30)

A recent Ipsos-Reid poll shows that more than 97 per cent of Canadian believe that getting outdoors is important to their family’s well-being. The poll found that Canadians are happier when they are connected to nature. (57)

In 2015, the total revenues of heritage organizations in Canada were estimated at $2.53 billion, a 29% increase from 2011.  Heritage organizations received over 75 million in-person visits and 203 million online visits. They presented over 15,000 permanent exhibitions and created 8,600 new exhibitions. Almost four million in-person visits were recorded in Saskatchewan in 2015. (88)
  • … helps preserve our individual and shared heritage for future generations.
There are approximately 6,700 languages spoken in 228 countries in the world. In Saskatchewan, there are over 75 different languages spoken. Some languages, particularly in the Indigenous culture are in danger of extinction. Saskatchewan still has a large percentage of residents who have a mother tongue other than English or French. (90)

In 2016, the vast majority of Saskatchewan residents, 82.4 per cent, reported English as their mother tongue (the first language learned as a child and still understood), French as a mother tongue was reported by 1.4 per cent of Saskatchewan residents, non-official languages made up 14.5 per cent of reported mother tongues and multiple mother tongues were responsible for the other 1.7 per cent of responses. (90)

Cultural heritage broadens opportunities for education and lifelong learning, including a better understanding of history. (53)


Did you know that cultural workers (paid and unpaid)…


Text: Did you know? Saskatchewan has benefited from having the highest rate of volunteerism across Canada for over a decade. (Saskatchewan Non-Profit Partnership, A Profile of the Non-profit Sector in Saskatchewan: An Overview) Culture Builds Community!

  • … make up 2.48% of Saskatchewan’s labour force.
There are 13,800 people in cultural occupations in Saskatchewan, comprising 2.48% of the overall labour force. In other words, one in every 40 Saskatchewan workers has a cultural occupation. (9)

Saskatchewan is home to 2.1% of the country’s cultural workers and 3.2% of the overall labour force. (9)

The total individual income of Saskatchewan’s artists averages $28,400, a figure that is 40% lower than the overall labour force average ($47,000). Cultural workers have average individual incomes of $41,500 (12% less than the overall labour force). (9)

In 2011, Saskatchewan’s 2,800 artists comprised 0.50% of the province’s labour force. The province accounts for 2.0% of all artists in Canada, compared with 3.2% of the overall labour force. (9)

The number of cultural workers in Canada (671,100) is over two-and-a-half times larger than the labour force in real estate (254,200), about double the labour force on farms (339,400), and slightly lower than the labour force in the wholesale trade industry (733,500). (91) 

Saskatchewan non-profit sector is made up of approximately 77,051 employees. (91)
  • … make up 3% of Canada’s over 13.3 million volunteers.
Saskatchewan has the highest volunteer rate in the country at 58%, well above the national average of 47%. While 12% of Canada’s estimated 13.3 million volunteers support sport and recreation programs, approximately 3% of this total support arts and culture through the country. (44)

Saskatchewan has consistently benefited from having the highest rate of volunteerism across Canada for more than a decade. With survey respondents reporting a total of almost 86,000 volunteers, it is estimated that more than 344,000 individuals are actively volunteering across the province, contributing more than 14 million hours annually. (93)

There are approximately 27,000 volunteers and 26,000 donors in arts and culture organizations in Saskatchewan. The arts and culture volunteer rate in the province is 3.2%, while the arts and culture donor rate is 3.1%. Both of these rates are higher than the Canadian averages (2.7% for both volunteers and donors) (94)

In 2013, 44% of Canadians volunteered their time and almost twice as many (82%) gave money to a charitable or non-profit organization. (8)
  • … are often highly educated.
Forty-five per cent of the Saskatchewan cultural labour force hold degrees, compared with 15 per cent of the overall labour force. (8)

Saskatchewan’s artists have much higher levels of formal education than the overall provincial labour force. The percentage of artists with a bachelor’s degree or higher (38%) is roughly double the percentage in the overall labour force (18%). (9)

Canada’s artists and cultural workers have much higher levels of formal education than the overall labour force. The percentage of artists with a bachelor’s degree or higher (44%) is nearly double the rate among the overall labour force (25%), while 38% of cultural workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher. (9)
  • … are strong leaders.
A particular business school equates leaders and artists in that both know how to coach, encourage, take risks, innovate, inspire and express a vision; both use the capacities of emotional observation and critical judgement. (15)

Immigrants can help businesses tap into new local and international markets, and expand customer bases through improved cultural awareness and communications. (36)
  • … from Saskatchewan are recognized nationally each year.
At one point, Saskatchewan has the highest per capita number of writers in Canada. Of all Saskatchewan writers, 69% are self-employed. (8)

William Ormond (W.O.) Mitchell (1914-98) is perhaps the province’s most familiar literary figures. He is best remembered for his novel “Who Has Seen the Wind”, and his “Jake and the Kid” series of farm-like stories, written for CBC Radio, then published and later adapted as a television series.

Visual art began with the Indigenous peoples of the land, including the well-known talents of Allan Sapp and Micheal Lonechild, as well as the early immigrant landscape painters, including Augustus Kenderdine, Inglis Sheldon-Williams, Illingworth Kerr, James Henderson and Ernest Lindner.

The amateur “little theatre” movement began to develop in Saskatchewan towns and cities following the decline of travelling shows. Regina Little Theatre was established in 1926. It is one of the oldest continuously operating amateur theatre groups in Canada.

The hit television series “Corner Gas”, a sitcom set in small-town Saskatchewan, based on the comedy of Tisdale native Brent Butt, also featuring the acting talents of Saskatchewan locals Eric Peterson and Janet Wright, achieved international recognition.

Saskatchewan born talents continue to attract international acclaim: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Connie Kaldor, Colin James, Tatiana Maslany and Jack Semple.


Did you know that cultural tourism…


Text: Did you know? Travelers who included cultural events in their agendas inject around $10B into the Canadian economy annually. (Statistics Canada 1997, Culture on the Go) Culture Builds Community!

  • … is a key reason people stay longer in a community, and spend more money.
Travellers who included cultural events in their travel agendas inject an estimated $10 billion into the Canadian economy annually. (6)
  • … encourages local residents to explore their own province and community.
Canadian travellers who included cultural activities as part of their travel agenda tended to stay within or near their home province; 90% of these person trips were made in their home province and an additional 13% to a neighboring province. (7)

Beyond its economic goal of attracting tourists, cultural tourism’s conservation of a region’s heritage helps the local population better understand who they are, where they live and why they are unique. This helps instill a sense of pride in the community. (28)
  • … shows the uniqueness of Saskatchewan and its communities.
Just as the Eiffel Tower is a cultural symbol of Paris, France, communities throughout Saskatchewan have heritage attractions that showcase their uniqueness to the world. Battlefords has its Battle River Settlement, Wolesley has its Opera House, St. Victors has its hieroglyphics, and many more communities can be added to this list. (29)

Millions take in a cultural or heritage attraction while on vacation, making this kind of tourism a burgeoning phenomenon with still more promise to be tapped. It binds this country together and puts Canada in a position to make a unique contribution to the global heritage community. (29)
  • … attracts more international tourists.
While American travellers showed a strong interest in Canadian cultural activities and events (52% of all US person trips), other international travellers were the most likely of all to participate in cultural activities while travelling in Canada (68% of all trips). (6)

International visitors spent $220 million in direct spending for live performance events in Canada in 2016 ($188 million for performing arts events and $32 million for festivals and celebrations). This represents 1.1% of total tourism spending and 6.4% of non-tourism commodities (expenses other than travel, accommodation and food). This is more than for any other culture and sports sub-domains, including organized sports ($171 million). (54)



(updated January 2019)

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4. Moss Kanter, Rosabeth. World Class, Thriving Locally in the Global Economy, Simon & Shuster, 1995)

5. National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating. Statistics Canada, 1997.

6. Culture on the Go, Focus on Culture, Statistics Canada, Spring 1997.

7. A Close-up of Culture/Heritage Travel in Canada. Focus on Culture. Statistics Canada, 1998.

8.General Social Survey: Giving, volunteering and participating. 2013 Statistics Canada.

9. Artists and Cultural Workers in Canada’s Provinces and Territories. Hill Strategies. October 2014

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11. Ipsos-Reid and The Council for Business and the Arts Canada, 2001

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13. The National Association for Music Education, 1999

14. Government of Alberta web site, 1999

15. Alburty,S (1999). A Cast of Leaders. In Kerka, S. (2002). Adult Learning in and through the Arts. ERIC Digest. No. 236

16. Apol L.,and Kambour, T. 1999. Telling Stories through Writing and Dance: An Intergenerational Project. In Kerka, S (2002). Adult Learning in and through the Arts. ERIC Digest. No. 236

17. The Arts and the Public Purpose.The Ninety-Second American Assembly, 1999

18. The Music in our minds, 1998 Educational Leadership.

19. Folk arts in the Classroom: Why Folk Arts, 1999

20. Shaw et al, 1997)

21. Statistics Canada, 1999 Family characteristic of problem kids. Canadian Social Trends.

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25. Catterall, Chapleu and Iwanaga, 1999 Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement in Muse and Theatre Arts. Los Angeles, CCA: The Imagination Project at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

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27. Saskatchewan Multi-type Library Board, 2002 Saskatchewan Libraries Working Together: Discussion Paper.

28. Government of Alberta web site, 19999

29. Canadian Heritage web site , 1999

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31. Lincoln, Clifford 1999 A Sense of Place, A Sense of Being. The Evolving Role of the Federal Government in Support of Culture in Canada. Ottawa

32. Florida, R. 2002. The Rise of the Creative Class: and how it’s transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life. Perseus Books Group.

33. Pei-Luen Tsai; Mei-Ching Chen; Yu-Ting Huang; Keh-Chung Lin; Kuan-Lin Chen; Yung-Wen Hsu. Listening to Classical Music Ameliorates Unilateral Neglect After Stroke. American Journal of Occupational Therapy , May 2013, Vol.67, 328-335. doi:10.5014/ajot.2013.006312.

34. Music helps you work harder. Scientific American. March 2013.

35. Want Quick, Accurate Thinking? Ask a Musician. By Tom Jacobs. September 24, 2013.

36. Benefits of Multiculturalism. Burnaby Intercultural Planning Table

37. The Importance of Sense of Place, by Ed van der Maarel. Municipal World, February 2013.

38. New Towns: The British Experience. As quoted in Learning from the past? By Marina Scott, Neil Stott and Colin Wiles, Keystone Development Trust. 2009.

39. Creative Place making: heritage meets the creative industries. By Greg Baeker and Lauren Miller. Municipal World, February 2013.

40. Mapping the Brain’s Response to Art. Tom Jacobs. Pacific Standard: The Science of Society. January 21, 2014.

41. Wealthier people are more musical, by George Arnett. The Guardian, March 5, 2014.

42. More Evidence Music Training boosts Brainpower. Pacific Standard. January 24, 2013.

43. Heritage Languages: building blocks for the future. Saskatchewan Organization for Heritage Languages. Keewatin Publications. Undated

44. General Social Survey – Giving, Volunteering and Participating (GVP) Statistics Canada, 2010

45. Culture and Recreation: Links to Well-Being. By Sherri Torjman. Caledon Institute of Social Policy, 2001

46. Taking the Pulse of Saskatchewan 2012 – Immigration and Diversity. Social Sciences Research Laboratories, University of Saskatchewan, October 2012.

47. Taking the Pulse of Saskatchewan 2012 – Aboriginal Issues in Saskatchewan. Social Sciences Research Laboratories, University of Saskatchewan, October 2012.

48. Study: Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population. Statistics Canada. March 9, 2010.

49. Canadians’ Arts, Culture, and Heritage Participation in 2016. By Kelly Hill. Hill Strategies Research, November 14, 2018. 

50. Social Impacts of Culture and Sport 2015. The National Benefits Hub. Accessed March 4, 2019.

51. Engagement in Painting, Music Promotes Prosocial Behaviour. By Ani. Yahoo News, August 3, 2017.

52. How Music Can Fight Prejudice, Tom Jacobs. Pacific Standard. May 24, 2018.

53. The Importance of Culture. Environmental scan of the culture sector: Ontario culture strategy background document. Updated May 24, 2016.

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56. Ballet: Discipline for Both Body and MindSara G. Stephens. Houston Family Magazine. July 31, 2012.

57. Dance Teaches Children Creativity and DisciplineAlan Winter. The Telegraph. November 3, 2012.

58. Dancing Encourages Children to Develop Self-discipline. AllWomenTalk. Accessed March 4, 2019.

59. Dancing: a Life Discipline. By Esther Frances and Mircea Marta. Innerform. October 23, 2017.

60. The Basics of Caring for Children in Your Home. PennState Extension. 2013.

61. 5 Facts about Diversity in the Workplace that May Surprise YouSamantha Suarez. Chamber Blog. September 8, 2017.

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63. How Racially Diverse Schools and Classrooms Can Benefit All StudentsAmy Stuart Wells, Lauren Fox, and Diana Cordova-Cobo. The Century Foundation. February 9, 2016.

64. How Can the Arts Improve Academic Performances? Daydream Education. August 28, 2018.

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67. 6 Ways to improve your Child’s Self-Esteem with Extracurricular Activities, The Understood Team. Accessed March 4, 2019.

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69. 4 Cool Art Projects for KidsTJ Smith. Little Steps One at a Time. March 28, 2018.

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87. Singing and Health: A Systematic Mapping and Review of Non-Clinical Research. Clift, Stephen et al. The National Benefits Hub. 2008.

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98. The impact of music interventions for people living and working in care home settingsDr. Christine Tapson et al. Walters University of Winchester and Live Music Now, November 2018.

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