8.4.1 Amateur arts and folk culture
The federal government does not normally provide funding to the amateur arts leaving it to the provincial and municipal governments and foundations. One interesting exception to this is the CBC Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs to which the Canada Council for the Arts contributes for the administration of the competition. The issue of adequate incentives and support for amateur arts groups is an ongoing issue for debate although not primarily at the federal level. The generally recognised decline in arts appreciation curricula in the schools has contributed to widespread concern that instruction in the arts is insufficient to allow for creative individual and group cultural expression. However, arts associations and cultural houses advocate and encourage the participation of Canadians in cultural life.
According to a public opinion survey, approximately 78% of the population aged 15 and up participated in at least one of nine artistic or cultural activities in 2000. Figures range from 40% (using a computer to design or draw) to 11% for volunteering or becoming a member in an arts organisation. Approximately 68% aged 15 and up participated in at least one of four heritage-related activities in the last year, ranging from 55% for reading historical material to 6% for belonging to a heritage or historical society. Those with children in the home and those with higher levels of education are more likely to participate in artistic / creative activities than those who are without. Younger people between the ages of 15 and 24 are more likely to report participation in most activities. Ninety-five per cent of Canadians feel that to relax and enjoy oneself is a very (65%) or somewhat (30%) important reason for participating in artistic or cultural activities. Other reasons are: to learn new things or to improve skills (87%), to work or share something with others (83%) and to express oneself (75%). Artistic activities are also considered to be a way of connecting with one's cultural or ethnic background (53%) (Environics 2000).