Please note: Some of the content on this page was published prior to the launch of Creative Australia and references the Australia Council. Read more.

Connecting Australians: Results of the National Arts Participation Survey, June 2017

Jun 27, 2017


Connecting AustraliansResults of the National Arts Participation Survey is the third in a landmark series by the Australia Council for the Arts, following editions in 2009 and 2013. It measures Australians’ engagement with the arts in 2016 – attending arts events, exhibitions and festivals; reading; listening to music; sharing and connecting with the arts online; and creating art themselves. The arts encompass theatre, dance, visual arts and craft, music, literature, First Nations and cross-art form work. Engagement with a person’s own cultural background through the arts is articulated for the first time, along with festival attendance and community arts and cultural development activities. The survey also captures the value of the arts to Australians through their attitudes, views about the impacts of the arts, and propensity to donate time or money to the arts.

Click here for the state and territory results from the National Arts Participation Survey.

Key Findings

  • 98% of Australians engage with the arts and more people recognise the positive impacts of the arts.
  • Online and live arts experiences are both important to Australians.
  • The arts have an increasingly powerful role to play in promoting social cohesion.
  • 7 million Australians experienced First Nations arts last year – double the number in 2009.
  • Music is the most popular art form, with 97% of Australians listening to recorded music and more than half attending live music.
  • Younger Australians (aged 15-24 years) create and experience the arts at the highest rates.
  • One in four Australians give time or money to the arts, reflecting their value in our lives.

Interactive Dashboards

Scroll down or click links below to explore more findings through our eight interactive dashboards. Filter results by age, gender and location.
Impacts of the arts.
Attitudes to the arts.
Cultural diversity.
Live attendance.
Creative participation.
Listening to music and reading.
Online engagement.

Impacts of the arts

More Australians now recognise the many positive impacts the arts have on our daily lives and in our communities. Explore here how they vary across age group, gender and location.


Attitudes to the arts

Australians believe the arts reflect and contribute to society, to cultural identity, and to Australia’s international reputation. Explore here how attitudes vary across age group, gender and location.



The high value that Australians place on the arts is reflected in the time and money that Australians give to support artists, arts organisations and arts projects. Explore here how giving varies across age group, gender and location.


Cultural diversity

This dashboard shows data on engagement with cultural background through the arts, attendance at First Nations arts, and involvement with community arts and cultural development.


Live attendance

More than 14 million Australians aged 15 years and over attended arts events or festivals in person in 2016 (72%), on par with 2013 and 2009.Explore attendance across age group, gender and location.


Creative participation

Creative arts participation can take many forms – from artistic photography to playing an instrument; and from singing in a community choir or taking a community arts class, to more professional forms of arts creation.


Listening to music and reading

As well as attending arts in person and creatively participating in the arts, listening to music and reading are vital, accessible and popular ways that Australians engage with the arts.

Online engagement

Online engagement with the arts is booming – in the digital age the arts are more accessible than ever. Explore across age group, gender and location.