Arts in the US - 1998 to 2007

'Americans for the Arts' has just produced the National Arts Index - an annual measure of the health and vitality of the arts in the United States, using 76 national level indicators.  The full report is a 'must read' as trends in all 76 areas are reviewed and discussed.

The 2008 National Arts Index score is 98.4, compared to the 2003 baseline of 100 and the previous year's score of 102.6.  The Report draws attention to four overall themes:
  • the arts follow the business cycle - facing tough times in 2008/2009 but looking forward to an arts rebound in 2011
  • demand for the arts lags supply - the report documents stready growth in the number of artists, art organizations and arts-related employment opportunities; yet one out of three nonprofit arts organizations fail to achieve a balanced budget (even during the strongest years)
  • there is a noticeable decline in attendance at concerts, plays, opera and museum opportunities; however the percentage of Americans who create art is up, as is the percentage who experience the arts through technology and social media
  • the competitiveness of the arts is slipping - not holding it's own when you look at uses of potential audience member time, donor/funder commitment, or spending (when compared to non-arts sectors).

From our Foresight perspective, highlights of the report follow:
  • the % of Americans attending museums declined by 13% between 2003 and 2008
  • the % of Americans attending performing arts events declined by 17% between 2003 and 2008
  • the % of Americans personally creating art (e.g. photography, music making and drawing) is growing slightly ahead of the US population growth rate - up from 18.5% to 19.5% between 2003 and 2008
  • a slightly greater percentage of toal personal consumption was spend on arts and culture (e.g. theatre, books, movies) , growing from 1.78 to 1.83 percent from 2003 to 2008
  • the share of foundation funding being directed to the arts decreased from 14.8% in 1998 to 10.6% in 2007
  • the corporate giving share to the arts decreased from 10.3% to 4.6% from 1998 to 2007
  • artists remained a steady 1.5% share of the total civilian workforce from 1996 to 2008
  • there has been a steady growth in the number of nonprofit arts organizations over the past decade - from 73.000 to 104,000.

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