The goal of the Arts Impact Measurement project (AIM) was twofold. One – a committee was struck in May 2015 to provide a summary of the impact of the arts in Wood Buffalo with regards to: quality of life, participation, and economics based on the data currently available; and to supply a roadmap on the next steps Arts Council Wood Buffalo must take to complete the necessary data, and the best ways to distribute the final results. Two – on the advice of the committee, ACWB contracted Hill Strategies Research Inc. (HSR) to manage the evaluation and data analysis portion of the project. Phase I was an online survey of Wood Buffalo artists, to which 130 artists responded. Phase II was a telephone survey that collected data from the general Wood Buffalo population about arts participation and attendance – motivations, barriers, benefits. Phase I data was collected in November 2015 and Phase II data was collected in March 2016. HSR was analyzing and preparing the final report when the fire and evacuation occurred in May 2016. In response to the disaster, ACWB and HSR developed a strategy to analyze the existing data in a complimentary report, “Creative resilience in Wood Buffalo,” that used research from other communities who experienced natural disasters and the role of the arts in recovery and rebuilding to contextualize the Wood Buffalo data collected. The final report of Phases I and II, “Wood Buffalo’s arts community viewed from within and without,” was completed in December 2016.
The information in these reports can be used in many ways by artists, art organizations and the broader community to support new and existing art activities and projects such as grant applications and advocacy for art related community initiatives. Artist are encouraged to use these reports as resources to help them with their artistic endeavors!