Our research process sought to identify the core, existing values held by the American public, and to explore how those values relate to engagement with arts, culture, and creativity.

Connection emerged as the driving motivator for people to embrace arts, culture, and creativity as part of their everyday lives. It offers the most effective platform to engage new and existing stakeholders in participating in and advocating for arts and culture.

People define connection in four ways: connecting to family and friends, connecting with communities and the world around us, connecting with our cultural heritage, and connecting with ourselves.


Adult and child drawing at a museum

Connecting with family and friends

Connecting with family and friends is the primary and most powerful bridge between arts and culture and what people care most about in their daily lives. For parents of young children, it gives them the opportunity to create lasting memories. For many adults, it can reduce social isolation and build stronger relationships.

Singer and child onstage together at a jazz concert

Connecting with the community and world around us

Connecting with the community and world around us is a concept that embraces key values around learning, self-improvement, voice, and inclusion. Americans acknowledge that authentically experiencing the creative expression of other cultures teaches them something they did not know, and helps them better understand and appreciate differences.

Adult creating a dragon costume

Connecting with cultural heritage

Connecting with cultural heritage is a critical value for communities across America, especially those who engage in arts and culture as a way of honoring or contributing to their cultural identity.

Young woman playing a keyboard

Connecting with ourselves

Connecting with ourselves is rooted in the core value of health and well-being. Many Americans believe that arts, culture, and creative expression offers a powerful platform for people to understand who they are and what is important to them, and that engaging in those experiences can help reduce stress and find balance.

What’s next: Messaging and programming for connection

Are you looking for ideas on how to incorporate this “connection” value into your communications and your programs?

  • Learn how to create meaningful messages that communicate how your organization helps people grow, provides a platform for people to express their voice, and contributes to well-being and happiness.

  • Tell your story with narratives and photos that embrace connection in all its forms.

  • Get inspired with our guide to programming for connection, complete with ideas on how you can create more social and interactive opportunities for people to connect with one another in your space.

  • Explore our success stories to find inspiration from other organizations that are incorporating connection-based language and programming into their work.

Images: Connecting with Family and Friends by Noriko Slussen courtesy of San Jose Museum of Art; Connecting with the Community and the World Around Us courtesy of San Jose Jazz Summer Fest; Connecting with Cultural Heritage courtesy of Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center; Connecting with Ourselves public domain.