Hearts and Minds: The Arts and Civic Engagement

Hearts and Minds: The Arts and Civic Engagement

There is a substantial and consistent correlation between arts participation and civic engagement, a report from the James Irvine Foundation finds. Based on a literature review, the report, Hearts and Minds: The Arts and Civic Engagement (21 pages, PDF), found that people who participate in the arts are more likely than those who don't to volunteer and demonstrate social tolerance — two important indicators of civic engagement. And while participation in the arts may not necessarily be a cause of civic engagement, studies have found that people who have built their identities around civic engagement often credit community-based arts experiences and participatory and voluntary arts projects as significant to their personal development, while adolescents who regularly participate in the arts are more inclined toward community service. Moreover, actually making art actually appears to encourage civic engagement more than simply attending arts events, while informal, non-professional art making itself can serve as a form of civic engagement that builds social capital and connections within communities.