By: Bayaz Zeynalova

October 04, 2021

From making soap to baking bread, the pandemic presented many people with an opportunity to follow their muse. How widespread was this phenomenon? What ways have people used to channel their creative energy? The national Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation study conducted by Slover Linett in collaboration with LaPlaca Cohen and Yancey Consulting provides some answers.  As many of you know, Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation is a national research initiative that aims to contribute to the dialogue between the cultural sector and the communities that it serves. The second wave of CCTT was fielded in April 2021 with the participation of over 500 cultural organizations.

In the study, participants were asked if they had been doing creative activities during the past year. Creative activities were defined more broadly than usual and included reading, storytelling or listening to stories, learning a new language, videomaking and social activism, along with more commonly defined pastimes like playing music, singing, dancing, reading, drawing, photography, or crafting. This broad definition of creativity reflected a wider range of activities people engaged in during the pandemic.

The study has found that nearly all Americans (96%) were doing some sort of creative activity during the pandemic. In comparison, 75% of adults reported participation in creative activities in a poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Bluprint in 2019. And in 2017 the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts learned that only 54% of US adults made any art during the past year. Something to keep in mind when comparing these studies is that each of them included a slightly different list of creative activities.

According to the Culture + Community study, the most popular creative activities people engaged in during the pandemic had been cooking or baking, reading, home improvement/design, gardening, doing something musical and crafting.  Most respondents took part in these activities just to relax or to have fun. Many also did so to improve their skills and to feel a sense of accomplishment.

We have also seen reports on how some pandemic hobbies have pivoted career changes. Personally, I didn’t find this surprising, as I was among many who took up a creative hobby and even started a store on the handmade goods e-commerce site Etsy. The popularity of creative activities has certainly translated into some growth for Etsy and craft supply chains. Future studies will show if this pandemic-induced appeal of creative pastimes is here to stay.

Did you pick up any new creative activities or hobbies over the last year? We’d love to hear about them! Please send us an email to share your feedback.


Photo credit: Dusan Jovic, used with permission.

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