Entertainment, social connection, and a desire to understand other perspectives and cultures continue to be the most common reasons for the desire to attend.
Australians are visiting arts events and festivals less frequently, with price and location the main barriers to attendance, according to an arts survey released on Sept. 19.
Creative Australia released the 2022 National Arts Participation Survey. It provided the first comprehensive study of Australians’ engagement with arts and creativity since the COVID-19 pandemic, and the results are based on a nationally representative sample of 9,396 people.
Almost all Australians engage with the arts somehow; however, weekly event attendance dropped across all art forms compared to pre-COVID-19 pandemic rates, with more Australians only attending arts events every few months.
Creative Australia’s CEO Adrian Collette said although attendance is less frequent, “there has been a concurrent increase in the proportion of people who want to attend more.”
Entertainment, social connection, and a desire to understand other perspectives and cultures continue to be the most common reasons for attendance desire, and the pandemic likely contributed to this, according to the survey.
Almost half of Australians (48 percent) said creative activities and experiences helped their mental health or well-being during the pandemic.
As a result, Mr. Collette said Australians are now increasingly sharing, connecting, creating, and experiencing arts and culture online for well-being benefits. The survey showed almost nine in 10 Australians (88 percent) engaged with arts and culture online in 2022, up from 82 percent compared to 2019.
“Australians value the flexibility of accessing arts and creativity through digital avenues. However, a large proportion miss the atmosphere of a live event, exhibition, and experience when viewing online,” he said.
Further, many Australians recognise live arts and cultural events were heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions and are willing to support the industry.
About seven million Australians (34 percent) aged 15 and over are happy to pay more for events to help support the arts sector. Over two in five young people (44 percent) aged 15 to 34 said they were willing while older Australians were less eager (36 percent aged 35 to 49 and 26 percent aged 50 and over).
Australians are also diversifying how they consume literature and increasingly use digital reading formats. At the same time, Australians’ engagement with reading has decreased slightly following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of those who read, three in five Australians read ebooks, and a third of Australians listen to audiobooks.
“However, Australians likely use this format on an occasional, rather than regular basis as less regular consumption increased to 26 percent from 18 percent in 2019,” Mr. Collette said.