The Value Of Arts & Culture to Society

Written by on November 15, 2018

The value of arts and culture to society has long been debated. Arts and culture is known to play an important role in promoting social and economic goals through local regeneration, attracting tourists, the development of talent and innovation, improving health and wellbeing, and delivering essential services. These benefits are ‘instrumental’ because art and culture can be a means to achieve ends beyond the immediate intrinsic experience and value of the art itself.

However, there are intrinsic benefits of arts and culture experiences, such as aesthetic pleasure, which are seen as private and personal.  These intrinsic effects help to enrich individual lives, but can also result into a public spillover component in that they cultivate the kinds of citizens that is desired in a pluralistic society. These are the social bonds created among individuals when they share their arts experiences through reflection and discourse, and the expression of common values and community identity through artworks commemorating events significant to a nation’s (or people’s) experience.


The contribution of the arts and culture to the national economy includes an analysis of the ‘direct’ contribution of the arts and culture as measured by macroeconomic indicators like gross value added (GVA), employment and household incomes. It also analyzed the ‘indirect’ contributions made by the arts and culture to the wider economy and to other sectors. It outlines how these spillovers can occur and present some limited evidence in support of them. For example through improvements in national productivity, tourism, and through the role of the arts and culture in developing skills, fostering growth in the commercial creative industries and nurturing innovations. Arts and culture can also have a number of economic impacts on local economies (for example within a city or town)  through attracting visitors, creating jobs and developing skills, attracting and retaining businesses, revitalizing places and developing talents.

Participation in culture can significantly be associated with good health and high life satisfaction. Studies show that participating in culture or attending cultural places or events has a positive impact on health and life satisfaction. The use of art, when delivered effectively, has the power to both facilitate social interaction and enable those in receipt of social care to pursue creative interests. Dance can be regarded as an art and also it is incorporated in culture, it can help in reducing loneliness and alleviating depression and anxiety among people in social care environments. Dance has the ability to promote social integration, creativity and allow nonverbal communication and stimulation. This can be considered as a physical and psychological benefit of using arts with people in receipt of social care. Arts and cultural activities can have a positive impact on the symptoms of conditions, for example improved cognition, physical stability, or self-esteem, and the ability of people to manage them, for example through changes in behavior and increased social contact.

In terms of education art and culture can also be beneficial to young people in so many ways such as:

Taking part in drama and library activities improves attainment in literacy.

Taking part in structured music activities improves attainment in math, early language acquisition and early literacy.

Schools that integrate arts across their curriculum in the US have shown consistently higher mathematics scores and average reading when compared to similar schools that do not.

Participation in structured arts activities increases cognitive abilities

Employability of students who study arts subjects is very much higher and they are more likely to stay in employment.

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