10 ways the arts benefit our communities

arts community benefits

Over the past year and a half, community has felt more important than ever.


At Blueprint Arts, we believe in the value of engaging different communities with arts. But what real benefits can the arts offer our communities?


Our research shows that engagement with the arts can help everything from challenging inequalities to providing economic opportunities and boosting our health.


Without further ado, here are 10 ways in which the arts benefit our communities…

1. Building understanding between different groups

Art is a powerful and humanising way to communicate experiences across cultures and social groups.


Encouraging engagement with the arts from a young age is especially effective. According to People United, participatory art interventions can increase empathy and reduce bias in children.

2. Generates community discussions on social issues

The past year has clearly illustrated how the arts can draw attention to and prompt discussions around social issues and causes.

Here are some great examples:

3. Can address and reduce social inequalities

Beyond raising awareness, research shows arts programmes can also serve as a way to tackle social inequalities and social inequities.


For example, students from low-income families who participate in arts activities are 3 times more likely to get a degree.

4. Opens up opportunities

Engagement with the arts can open the door to improved academic performance, employability and more.


This is most evident in young people. Studying arts-based subjects has been shown to improve attainment in core subjects such as English and Maths. Learning about the arts also opens up employment opportunities for students. The Arts Council found that students who study arts subjects are more employable and more likely to remain in employment.

child painting

5. Promotes innovation

Engaging with the arts encourages us to go beyond the surface and think critically and creatively about the world around us.


In turn, this leads to creative approaches, solutions and innovations that we can all benefit from.


“You don’t have innovation if you don’t have arts. It’s as simple as that.” – Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO of Stemettes.


“Creativity is critical thinking and without it how are you going to open up and ask harder questions? Art opens up those… possibilities to think beyond what we already know.” – Catherine Opie, artist.

6. Increases community wellbeing

We all know that exercise and healthy eating are important to our well-being. But there is also increasing evidence that engagement with arts and culture improves physical and mental health.


How can the arts benefit our wellbeing? For starters, people who take part in the arts are 38% more likely to report good health. And 74% of GPs believe that public engagement with the arts benefits the illness prevention agenda.


Art is also a great way to reduce stress and practice mindfulness. It gives us the option to take our minds off of stressful situations and/or express complex emotions.

women drawing

7. Helps communities to cope in times of crisis

Arts can also benefit communities in times of crisis.


At some point during the pandemic, you likely turned to the arts for distraction or expression.


Have you binge-watched a documentary series on Netflix? Did you try a new craft? Or use journaling as a way to process your experiences? All of these are common examples of how the arts can help us cope with difficult situations.


It’s amazing how something as simple as seeing colourful chalk art and window drawings on your lockdown walks can brighten people’s moods and inspire hope

8. A path to economic regeneration

What about long-term solutions following times of crisis? What role can the arts play?


Investing in art and culture attracts new populations and businesses to local areas, according to research by the Arts Council. The arts industry is also known to boost tourism (domestic and foreign) and the hospitality industry. Can the arts be key to the post-pandemic recovery of our economies?

community of diverse women talking

9. Reduces loneliness and isolation

You might have heard talk of a ‘loneliness pandemic‘ recently. The amount of people who feel lonely is up 40% from spring last year. And the implications are stark. Scientists link loneliness and social isolation to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and dementia.


Fortunately, participation in the arts is known to reduce feelings of loneliness.


This is particularly important for members of the community that are more vulnerable to social exclusion. For instance, older adults are at increased risk of loneliness and isolation. Research shows that the arts are an effective way to connect older people within their community.

10. Creates a sense of community identity

Art is a method of not only self-expression but also community expression. We’ve seen this in collaborative efforts such as COVID snakes – where communities create ever-lengthening “snakes” out of painted rocks in public spaces.


Blueprint Arts has witnessed this ourselves through our Lockdown Storytelling project, ‘The Monsters.’ Read more about the project here.


“Art and cultural production is at the centre of what makes a society what it is.” – Wolfgang Tillmans, artist.