Two in three Flemish believe that art contributes to social connection

Collage !!!!WAR IS OVER!!!! Animation film still 2022 (c) Christine Clinckx

How much support for art is there in Flanders? How do the Flemish view art, in their own lives and for society? Flanders Arts Institute had a study carried out in 2023 into the perceptions and expectations of the Flemish with regard to art and culture.

66% believe that art contributes to social connection, 69% believe that it helps one think about things differently. 46% believe that art is crucial for a healthy society. 36% consider art to be at least as important as healthcare, economy or education. The research (in Dutch here), conducted by Indiville and BPact on behalf of Flanders Arts Institute, not only reveals the current state of affairs, but also provides insight into the factors that influence support for art.

What is art?

When do Flemish consider something as art? The Flemish want to be emotionally touched (62%), intellectually stimulated (59%), or see/hear something original (56%). Beauty is a criterion for about a third of the Flemish.

Is art for everyone?

Only 9% of respondents believe that art is for a select group of Flemish. What are the barriers to experiencing or discovering art? 44% think art is important but do not participate regularly. The barriers are usually practical in nature (distance, price, ending time).

Which art are the Flemish most critical about?

The Flemish are the most critical and vocal about art that has been extensively covered in the media and has been the subject of controversy. Examples from the study: the banana in the white cube (Maurizio Cattelan) or the red cubes (Arne Quinze) in Ostend.

Research method

The survey was prepared by Flanders Arts Institute, the implementation was outsourced to the citizen panel Bpact and to research agency Indiville for analysis of the results. Publiq and Kenniscentrum Cultuuronderzoek also participated and offered an outsider’s view of the questionnaire and methodology.

We questioned a citizen panel of more than 3,000 Flemish, representative in terms of macro-demographic characteristics such as gender, age, education level and region, about (1) their concept of art (what is art, what is not?), (2) what makes something art (criteria), and (3) what motivates or prevents them from experiencing art.

Download the full report (in Dutch)

Read more about the survey on FAI’s wikibase (in Dutch)