01/09/2013 01:35 EST | Updated 03/11/2013 05:12 EDT

Majority of Canadians believe arts, culture should get government support: poll

TORONTO - An overwhelming majority of Canadians believe arts and culture is worthy of government support, according to the results of a poll commissioned by Canadian Heritage.

When asked: "How much importance do you think governments in Canada should place on supporting arts and culture in Canada?," 39 per cent chose "a great deal" from a list of four responses, while 48 per cent chose a "moderate amount." Nine per cent said "not very much" and three per cent responded "no importance at all."

The Department of Canadian Heritage is responsible for developing national policies for Canadian culture.

The telephone poll of 1,001 Canadians, conducted by Phoenix Strategic Perspectives Inc., last summer, found about 83 per cent said they attended a live performance or arts event — such as concerts, theatrical performances, readings, crafts shows or festivals — during the past year.

About 57 per cent said they were personally involved in an artistic activity during the past 12 months. The most common act was donating money, goods, or services to an arts or cultural organization (26 per cent), followed by acting, dancing or making music (22 per cent), making photographs, movies, videos, animation or new media art (20 per cent), and using technology to "create something creative or artistic" (20 per cent).

Two-thirds of those polled said it was important to have arts and culture in their lives, and roughly the same number said it was important that access be within 45 minutes of their home.

But not all Canadians felt they had good access to quality arts and culture.

About half said the number of events in their community was positive, while 58 per cent gave the quality a positive grade. About 43 per cent said the number of facilities in their community was good or very good, while 53 per cent rated the quality the same way.

But it appears those who don't have local access to arts and culture — along with others who do — are increasingly turning to the Internet to get their fix.

About 71 per cent of those polled said they use the Internet to engage in arts and culture. About 54 per cent said they used the web to find out more about an artist or event, 44 per cent either bought tickets or watched or listened to an art exhibition or performance online, and 38 per cent discussed arts and culture on the Internet.

The results of the poll are considered accurate within plus or minus 3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.