Survey Shows Minnesotans Value the Arts and Opportunities Remain to Improve Access
Research shows that arts and creative experiences are important for people’s quality of life. The arts can impact personal health and well-being, contribute to academic achievement in children and young people, serve as an economic engine in our communities, and more. In Minnesota, by the end of its 25-year lifespan, the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund will have provided more than 1.2 billion dollars to support arts and creative projects.
From 2022-2023, the Minnesota State Arts Board partnered with Wilder Research to conduct a survey of Minnesota residents that focused on arts and creative experiences. We wanted to learn about how Minnesotans view the arts and identify how arts and creative experiences impact Minnesotans’ everyday lives. The survey asked about the value Minnesota residents see in the arts, the ways in which they participate in and support arts and creative experiences, and the barriers they face to participating in arts and creative experiences.
Minnesotans value arts and creative experiences.
Nearly all respondents agreed that arts and creative experiences help make Minnesota an attractive place to live and work (96%), that people who create art are contributing something important to the communities where they live (96%), and that arts and creative experiences are very important or somewhat important to Minnesota residents’ quality of life (97%).
Many Minnesotans participate in arts and creative experiences.
Nearly 2 in 3 respondents (65%) said that they practice an art or engage in creative experiences in their everyday life, such as painting, sculpting, collaging, writing, sewing, felting, embroidering, filmmaking, performing, dancing, singing, or making music. About 3 in 5 respondents said that in the past year they participated in arts and creative experiences at traditional or formal art spaces like theaters and galleries (63%), and at community or public spaces like parks and libraries (57%).
Black Minnesotans are big supporters of the arts.
About 2 in 5 Black Minnesotans (42%) said that they donated money to an arts organization or in support of an arts or creative experience as compared to 32% of all respondents. Further, nearly 2 in 5 Black Minnesotans (38%) said that in the past year they volunteered with an arts organization or in support of arts and creative experiences as compared to 15% of all respondents.
Many Minnesotans also face barriers to participating in arts and creative experiences.
The most common barriers were cost (34% said cost was a major barrier for them), needing to go someplace far away or difficult to get to (28%), and a lack of time to attend or do arts and creative experiences (21%). Barriers to participation differ for residents of different racial and ethnic identities; for example, higher percentages of Black respondents (50%) and Latino respondents (33%) said that a major barrier for them is needing to go someplace where they might feel uncomfortable (as compared to respondents who identify with other races and ethnicities).
Learn more about these findings in Arts and Creative Experiences in Minnesota: Key Findings from a Representative Statewide Survey.
Minnesotans with disabilities and chronic health conditions report less participation in arts and creative experiences.
Compared to non-disabled respondents, lower percentages of respondents with a disability or chronic health condition said that they participated in arts and creative experiences at traditional or formal venues (52% compared to 68%) and at community or public spaces (50% compared to 60%). This finding suggests that Minnesota residents with disabilities and chronic health conditions have less access and face more barriers to participating in arts and creative experiences, regardless the setting.
The main takeaway: Minnesotans greatly appreciate the arts, and more can be done so that all Minnesotans have equitable access to meaningful arts and creative experiences.
The survey data clearly indicate that Minnesotans appreciate what the arts can do for them and their communities, and that many Minnesotans participate in arts and creative experiences regularly in their everyday life. At the same time, the data show that not all Minnesotans have the same level of access to arts and creative experiences, especially people living with disabilities and chronic health conditions. We at Wilder are honored to have conducted this survey so that the Arts Board and others can find solutions to address these barriers so that all Minnesotans have access to meaningful arts and creative experiences.