Arts and cultural participation may improve subjective wellbeing.

  • In one study, cultural access was the second most important determinant of psychological subjective wellbeing after multiple morbidities, ahead of occupation, age, income and education

  • In Scotland there were higher reports of life satisfaction and good health among people with arts/cultural participation

  • There is a correlation between participation in playing music and crafts and subjective wellbeing

Community arts activities are associated with healthy living habits and improved understandings of health:

  • Some arts-based health promotion projects get people active who would not typically be interested in typical exercise

  • Arts activities in health promotion has been shown to contribute to healthy eating & mothering, more positive mental health, increased absorption of health information

…BUT without longitudinal studies, we don’t know if healthy habits are sustained. Mental health improvements are difficult to benchmark and measure without control groups.


J. Bailey & S. Penhall (2018) The Impact of the VicHealth Active Arts Strategy, 2014-18.

E. Grossi et al. (2012) “The interaction between culture, health and psychological wellbeing: data mining from the Italian culture and wellbeing project,” Journal of Happiness Studies 13: 129-148.

S. Tsegaye et al (2016) Everything We Know About Whether and How the Arts Improve Lives, Createquity.

G. Crossick & P. Kaszynska (2016) Understanding the value of arts & culture: The AHRC cultural value project, London: Arts & Humanities Research Council.

B. Kisida et al. (2016) “Measuring Critical Thinking: Results From an Art Museum Field Trip Experiment,” Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness 9(1): 171-187.