Culture to the Core

In the fall of 2019 the Winnipeg Arts Council commissioned Probe Research Inc. to create an up-to-date study on the qualitative and quantitative impact of the arts and creative industries in Winnipeg. It’s been over five years since the last publication of such an impact study and consequently, it’s time to check the data.

The new publication, Culture to the Core, confirms what we found in the 2009 Ticket to the Future and 2014 Encore studies.

The arts and creative industries in Winnipeg are worth $1.6 billion in real GDP – up 22 % over the last decade. 

Core to the Economy

Culture is core to the economy. The City of Winnipeg currently earmarks approximately $4.5 million for arts grants, Winnipeg Arts Council free arts events and operations. Those grants and the Winnipeg Arts Council’s work have significant spin-off effects, creating jobs, generating tax revenue and growing Winnipeg’s economy.

Tax revenue returned to the City by artists and cultural organizations funded or supported by the Winnipeg Arts Council is about $4.7 million.

Core to Quality of Life

Unlike previous studies, Culture to the Core is not just an economic analysis. While the numbers, provided by Probe Research and the Georgetown Newbury Group (in association with the Manitoba Bureau of Statistics) contain numerous revelations about the importance of the arts to Winnipeg’s economy, what is equally telling is how Winnipeggers feel about arts and culture:

  • 90% of Winnipeggers say arts and culture are important to a good quality of life in Winnipeg.
  • 90% of Winnipeggers say art programs are a good way to keep kids out of trouble.
  • 80% of Winnipeggers participated in the arts in 2019.
  • 85% say it’s important for the City to fund arts and culture.

Core to the City

What all this means is that Winnipeg is Culture to the Core. We are arts people: we make art, we attend cultural events in huge numbers, we think culture is a catalyst for economic growth and gives the city its unique identity. In fact, most of us think Winnipeg’s arts scene is more vibrant than nearly anywhere else in Canada.

Download the Report

Culture to the Core  (1.7 MB)

The summary findings of all research conducted for this study.

Additional resources:

Arts Impact Summary Report (3.3 MB)

Probe Research Inc. conducted three separate surveys of key populations – Winnipeg artists, Winnipeg arts and cultural organizations and the general population of Manitoba – in the fall of 2019. These surveys helped to establish spending patterns for economic impact modelling and to understand experiences with the arts and views on arts funding. This report combines the findings from all three surveys.


Economic and Tax Revenue Impact Assessment Winnipeg Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts and Culture Community (500 KB)

The Georgetown Newbury Group (GNG) worked with Probe Research Inc. to develop economic and tax revenue impacts for expenditures related to the annual operational activities of Winnipeg artists and arts organizations associated with or supported by the Winnipeg Arts Council.GNG engaged the Manitoba Bureau of Statistics (MBS), the central statistical agency for the Province of Manitoba, to develop the estimated total economic/tax revenue impacts. The MBS analyses were produced using the MBS Economic Impact Assessment Model and the MBS Tax Revenue Impact Assessment Model. These models are the most comprehensive available and utilized economic information that is only available to MBS.

About the Study

Probe Research Inc. conducted a multi-phase economic impact study for the Winnipeg Arts Council. This included spending and attitudinal surveys of WAC-supported artists (N=212), arts organizations (N=40) and the general population of Manitoba (N=1,038) conducted between Oct. 4 and Nov. 15, 2019. Economic modelling was completed in partnership with the Manitoba Bureau of Statistics. Additional data, including from Statistics Canada and WAC, was also analyzed.

Sidebar image: Untitled by Cliff Eyland, Millennium Library

Photo by Lindsay Bond