Frequently Asked Questions


Why an Index? What’s Treasured is Measured

If something is important and vital, we want to know how much of it there is and how it is changing. We want to measure it and track it over time, as people do with their weight and income. The arts are a fundamental component of a healthy society, based on virtues that touch the individual, community, and the nation—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times:

  • Aesthetics: The arts create beauty and preserve it as part of culture
  • Creativity: The arts encourage creativity, a critical skill in a dynamic world
  • Expression: Artistic work lets us communicate our interests and visions
  • Identity: Arts goods, services, and experiences help define our culture
  • Innovation: The arts are sources of new ideas, futures, concepts, and connections
  • Preservation: Arts and culture keep our collective memories intact
  • Prosperity: The arts create millions of jobs and enhance economic health
  • Skills: Arts aptitudes and techniques are needed in all sectors of society and work
  • Social Capital: We enjoy the arts together, across races, generations, and places

For these reasons, it is important to understand how the arts thrive and remain healthy, enabling them to deliver these valuable benefits. It is this health and ability to sustain itself over time that we refer to as the “vitality” of arts and culture.

Why a Local Arts Index?

In January 2010 Americans for the Arts launched the National Arts Index (NAI), an annual measure of the health and vitality of arts and culture in the U.S. In 2014, the fifth annual National Arts Index report was published. The National Arts Index has provided a compelling and evidence-based look at key issues affecting the industry, such as the growing number of artists and arts organizations, changing audience demand, the impact of technology, and personal participation, the impact of the Great Recession, and growing demand for arts education by college-bound high school seniors.

The National Arts Index tells a broad national story about the whole U.S. Yet, we know instinctively that, while the national picture paints a single “broad-brush” story, our American communities are extremely diverse and need their own story told in a unique “small-brush” way. A more complete picture has to come from studying the arts and culture at the local level, not just as one national measure. A local arts index that tells the story of a community and places it in a larger national context has significant value and serve as a complement to the national index. When the NAI was released many communities expressed interest in “scaling-down” the index to the level of their community. The Local Arts Index was developed in response to that interest and to the growing demand for comparative information on arts at the community level.

Local arts agencies, advocates, and cultural leaders regularly seek information and a context to understand the impact of arts and culture on their community. The Local Arts Index (LAI) measurement focus is on the breadth, depth and character of the cultural life of a community. It relates arts and culture to broader community priorities and aspirations that range from economic development and revitalization to youth and education, and health and well-being concerns. The LAI can serve as a tool to frame questions about the roles or arts and culture in pursuing these priorities and aspirations. An added benefit is showing where a community stands relative to national norms.

How do I use the Local Arts Index?

There are many potential applications for the Local Arts Index. One is to paint an overall picture towards an understanding of the health and character of the cultural life of a community.

  • What is the distinctive nature of our cultural assets?
  • How much arts and culture activity is there in our community?
  • What are the resources that support them?
  • How do arts and culture compete in each local community?

The index can be a point of reference for understanding how one community stands in relation to like communities. Index scores are not a judgment, only a set of facts that can be used in each community pursuing its own local priorities.

Arts Indicators

The difficulty faced by most individuals – even those within the arts – is synthesizing many sets of data into a concise, cogent portrayal of the arts. Indicators (from the Latin indicare – meaning to announce, show, or point out) are statistical measures that, quite simply, help people understand how things change over time (outputs, opinions, operations). Indicators are not one-time snapshots of current conditions. Rather, they are a systematic data collection initiative that is conducted regularly over time.

An arts indicator is a statistical measure created for the purpose of tracking a value or condition related to the arts. The Local Arts Index compresses many arts indicators into one number that is calculated the same way and at regular time intervals – making it easy to compare performance between time periods.
There are many benefits and uses of these indicators. When reviewing the indicators and comparisons on the “Where I Live” tab, consider the following benefits and possible ways to utilize these indicators:

  • Communications: Indicators represent a language that is well understood and respected by community leaders. They transform complex information into communication tools that can be readily understood by policy makers and the public.
  • Evaluation: Indicators enable decision makers to assess progress toward explicitly stated values and goals. Longitudinal data is a marker for results-based accountability, performance standards, and other statistical tracking endeavours.
  • Policy Development: Reliable trend data play an important role in informing policy makers about community needs and contributing to improved programs.
  • A Foundation for Decision Making: A solid foundation of awareness about trends can give decision makers the confidence to take next steps and set goals. Indicators can provide early warnings—scanning the environment for emerging opportunities and crises (e.g., budget deficits vs. surpluses).
  • Community Dialogue: Some people simply like to be informed about the state of their community and how and why it’s changing. Indicators provide a common currency of language among funders, policy makers, and industry professionals. They improve the quality of the public dialogue about the arts and culture by providing understandable quantitative components to what is often a visceral discussion.
  • Planning and Forecasting: Access to consecutive years of data about one or more specific areas make it easier to forecast the future path of activity in that area.
  • Building Partnerships: Developing indicators collaboratively can provide arts leaders with a better understanding of the values that drive the community—and how to incorporate the arts into that value system. Indicators help non-arts leaders better understand the value of the arts as a core element of their community which in turn can lead them to become more effective advocates for public support and better partners.
How can I find out more about Creative Businesses?

Americans for the Arts publishes Creative Industries and Arts and Economic Prosperity reports that also highlight the arts in American communities. Nationally, 703,000 businesses are involved in the creation or distribution of the arts, and they employ 2.9 million people. This represents 3.9 percent of all U.S. businesses and 1.9 percent of all U.S. employees. Reports for all 435 U.S. Congressional Districts, the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the 7,500 state legislative districts, and all 3,143 U.S. counties—as well as a full suite of user tools and a comprehensive list of the industries included in this analysis—are available for download at All of Americans for the Arts research projects are available for view at

Funding for the Local Arts Index

Americans for the Arts wishes to express its gratitude to the following organizations that were key in supporting the research, development and launch of the Local Arts Index. These organizations provided critical resources to engage the 100+ local partners across the country in designing, modeling and testing the Local Arts Index as well as a research and technology team.

Special Thanks:

  • The Kresge Foundation

Additional support is provided by:

  • The Paul Allen G. Family Foundation
  • The Rhode Island Foundation
  • The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

We thank the following partners who participated in the pilot of the Local Arts Index. They have provided their insight and thoughts into development of the LAI and have been instrumental in gathering primary data in their communities in the initial phase of the project.

  • Anchorage Opera, Anchorage, AK
  • Tucson Pima Arts Council, Tucson, AZ
  • Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, Sacramento, CA
  • City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, San Diego, CA
  • Arts Council of Silicone Valley, San Jose, CA
  • Community Development Department – City of Ventura, Ventura, CA
  • Pikes Peak Area Arts Council, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, Denver, CO
  • Parker Arts, Culture and Events Center, Parker, CO
  • Cultural Services Department, Loveland, CO
  • Art on the Corner, Downtown Partnership, Grand Junction, CO
  • Wildethyme Art, Monte Vista, CO
  • Greater Hartford Arts Council, Inc., Hartford, CT
  • Arts Council of Greater New Haven, New Haven, CT
  • Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, Washington, DC
  • Gainesville Association for the Creative Arts, Gainesville, FL
  • Broward County Cultural Division, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Hernando County Fine Arts Council, Brooksville, FL
  • City of Tampa, Tampa, FL
  • United Arts of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
  • Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Miami, FL
  • Palm Beach County Cultural Council, Palm Beach, FL
  • Cultural Arts Association of Walton County, Inc., Santa Rosa, FL
  • City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs, Savannah, GA
  • Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville/Douglas County, Douglasville, GA
  • City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, Atlanta, GA
  • East Hawai`i Cultural Council, Hilo, HI
  • City of Dubuque, Iowa, Dubuque, IA
  • City of Boise, Department of Arts & History, Boise, ID
  • Arts Alliance Illinois, Chicago, IL
  • Rockford Area Arts Council, Rockford, IL
  • Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN
  • Columbus Area Arts Council, Columbus, IN
  • Arts Place, Inc., Portland, IN
  • Arts Council of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
  • Tippecanoe Arts Federation, Lafayette, IN
  • Johnson County Arts Council, Johnson County, KS
  • Manhattan Arts Center, Manhattan, KS
  • City of Wichita Arts and Cultural Services, Wichita, KS
  • Arts Council of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
  • City of Slidell Department of Cultural & Public Affairs, Slidell, LA
  • Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts, Baltimore, MD
  • Frederick Arts Council, Frederick, MD
  • Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Silver Spring, MD
  • Prince George’s Arts Council, Hyattsville, MD
  • Tibbits Opera Foundation & Arts Council, Inc., Coldwater, MI
  • The Art Center aka Anton Art Center, Mount Clemens, MI
  • Farmington Hills Cultural Arts Division, Farmington Hills, MI
  • Lexington Arts Council, Inc., Lexington, MI
  • Cultural Alliance of Southeast Michigan, Detroit, MI
  • Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, St. Paul, MN
  • United Arts of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud, MN
  • Allied Arts Council of St. Joseph, Inc., St. Joseph, MO
  • Springfield Regional Arts Council, Springfield, MO
  • Arts Council of Metropolitan Kanas City, Kansas City, MO
  • St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis, MO
  • Arts Council of Big Sky, Big Sky, MT
  • Missoula Cultural Council, Missoula, MT
  • Durham Arts Council, Durham, NC
  • Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Inc., Charlotte, NC
  • City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Raleigh, NC
  • United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, Raleigh, NC
  • Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, Wonalancet, NH
  • Montclair Arts Council, Montclair, NJ
  • Monmouth County Arts Council, Red Bank, NJ
  • Creative Albuquerque, Albuquerque, NM
  • CNYCAC, dba Stanley Center for the Arts, Utica, NY
  • Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, Ithaca, NY
  • Arts Westchester, White Plains, NY
  • Arts Wave, Cincinnati, OH
  • Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, Toledo, OH
  • Portsmouth Area Arts Council, Portsmouth, OH
  • The Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK
  • Clackamas County Arts Alliance, Oregon City, OR
  • Regional Arts & Culture Council, Portland, OR
  • Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jump Street, Harrisburg, PA
  • ArtsErie, Erie, PA
  • Lehigh Valley Arts Council, Allentown, PA
  • City of Philadelphia – Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Philadelphia, PA
  • The Cultural Alliance, York, PA
  • City of Providence, Dept. of Art, Culture + Tourism, Providence, RI
  • The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts, Charleston, SC
  • Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington counties, Columbia, SC
  • The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, Spartanburg, SC
  • Arts Council of York County, Rock Hill, SC
  • Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, Nashville, TN
  • Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN
  • ArtsMemphis, Memphis, TN
  • Cultural Arts Division – City of Kingsport, Kingsport, TN
  • City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Dallas, TX
  • Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton, TX
  • Museums and Cultural Affairs Department (MCAD), El Paso, TX
  • Houston Arts Alliance, Houston, TX
  • Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County, Fort Worth, TX
  • City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, Austin, TX
  • Salt Lake City Arts Council, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Alexandria Office of the Arts, Alexandria, VA
  • Arlington Cultural Affairs, Arlington, VA
  • Fairfax Arts Council, Fairfax, VA
  • The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, Glen Allen, VA
  • Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads, Norfolk, VA
  • Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Seattle, WA
  • Spokane Arts Commission (City of Spokane), Spokane, WA
Methodology and Appendices

The data on these pages were assembled as part of the Local Arts Index project of Americans for the Arts. The web pages are one of the main project outcomes. The data in these web pages were obtained only from secondary sources in government and the private sector. This section describes how the Local Arts Index was put together, including: prior helpful studies and models, using the county as unit of analysis, how data series were aggregated to the county level, comments on the nature of the data series, other helpful literature, and information on the research team.

  • We use the county as our unit of analysis. The 2010 Census lists 3,143 counties or equivalents in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
  • To measure a wide range of local arts and culture activity, we have gathered several hundred micro-level, specific measures of arts activity, resources, participation, and character, from which we produced a smaller number of useful county-level indicators of arts and culture.
  • We set each of the indicators in a conceptual framework, the Community Arts Vitality Model.
  • The secondary data sources provide information for varying numbers of counties. Typically, there is ample data to describe urban counties, less for rural counties.
  • Data on the web site has been updated every year since it was first presented in 2012. The most recent update was in spring 2015.
  • The indicators span multiple years. Almost all are from 2011 or later, and a number are of more recent vintage: 2014 and 2015.

We drew on numerous models. We brought some concepts from the National Arts Index, though with important differences, especially that while NAI was trying to measure one place across time, the Local Arts Index multiple places for the first time. Some reports that influenced our thinking include studies using the Cultural Vitality IndexCounty Health Rankings of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and other indicator projects listed at Community Indicators Consortium. We looked especially closely at about 20 local area studies of creative industries, creative economies, and the like, looking for practical ways to measure the arts at the local level.


This project was labeled the “LOCAL” Arts Index, and its strength is partly based on how well it measures every “locality” or place. One aspiration is to measure at the smallest level possible – the block, the neighborhood, the zip code … but this is an easier goal to state than to achieve; the “local” frame of reference is different for every person. Typically, people think of themselves as living in towns, cities, and regions, and would prefer to see their activities recognized at that level. But there are many thousands of local cities and towns, and data describing many of these designated municipalities is uneven and/or not available for every place. By contrast, dozens of available data series, gathered by the federal government or national companies, provide useful information about the arts in American counties. So, we settled on the county as our unit of analysis. Every county has a unique Federal Information Processing System code that is its key in a variety of databases. Some county equivalents are cities in Virginia and other states, parishes in Louisiana, the District of Columbia, and large areas in Alaska. In total, there are 3,143 counties or equivalents that have their own FIPS code.

This total of 3,143 is the largest number of counties with a measure for every any indicator. In fact, most indicators were measured in fewer counties. Population distribution and density are uneven. Hundreds of counties are sparsely populated, with little systematic data collection there. More than 300 counties have fewer than 5,000 residents, and more than 900 counties fewer than 10,000. These (relatively small) populations make it hard to gather and/or report data. Some government data is collected for every county, but are reported only at an aggregate level to avoid violating privacy and confidentiality about these smallest places. For commercial data companies, some markets are too small. These data gap problems are not unique to arts and culture reports by any means.


We obtained secondary data from more than 25 different sources. While some of these data sources are publicly available, many are proprietary and were made available to Americans for the Arts specifically for use in this project.

  • Federal government (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Institute for Museum and Library Science, National Endowment for the Arts, Bureau of the Census, Internal Revenue Service, National Parks Service, National Center for Education Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis)
  • Private membership organizations, professional societies, and trade groups
    • American Association for State and Local History
    • Americans for the Arts
    • Association of American Museums
    • Chorus America
    • Educational Theatre Association
    • League of American Orchestras
    • League of Historic American Theatres
    • National Art Education Association
    • National Association for Music Education (formerly Music Educators National Conference)
    • National Dance Educators Organization
    • National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts
    • National Office for Arts Accreditation
    • Opera America
    • Theatre Communications Group
  • Research institutions:
    • National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
    • National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute
  • Commercial data providers
    • Claritas-Nielsen
    • Scarborough Research
    • Dun & Bradstreet

As in the National Arts Index project, we used some evaluation criteria to determine whether we could use a particular data point. The relevant criteria for the Local Arts Index are:

  1. The indicator has at its core a meaningful measurement of arts and culture activity
  2. The data are measured at the county level
  3. The data are produced annually by a reputable organization
  4. The data are statistically valid, even if based on sample
  5. We expect that future years of data will be available for use in the Index
  6. The data are affordable within project budget constraints

Many secondary data sources have provided data based on FIPS codes. Others were provided based on postal zip codes. We used a commercial product that associates each zip code with one county. This technique, while not uncommon in national studies that use zip code data, is imperfect because not all zip codes are confined to one county. Estimates of errors range from 10 to 15 percent. We accepted the risk of this range of errors because of the vast amount of data that became available from membership and other organizations that were willing to share information with us (and you) for this project.


We learned in the National Arts Index the value of transparency and of identifying both advantages and problems of choices we made to measure the arts at the local level. All data collection and manipulation procedures involve trade-offs between the objective of a robust and informative result on the one hand, limited by method or data or resources on the other.

A major goal was to provide broad-based and deep coverage of arts and culture in counties. We achieve breadth by scanning for secondary sources in a range of places. We achieved depth by engaging local arts leaders across the country as partners during the design stage, and by using multiple measures of some especially important arts phenomena (employment, workers’ income). But of course, our methods have both benefits and concerns. Some benefits and advantages of our method include:

  • Use of multiple data series from private and public sources to create what we believe is the largest data set ever assembled describing arts and culture at the local level.
  • Using a diverse view of artistic businesses and work, rather than limiting to a few modes of artistic activity.
  • Using the county as a unit of analysis allows us to explore and measure the arts in smaller communities.
  • All data are “ratio scaled,” not measured just as categories, ordinarily, or in intervals. This makes it possible to do some calculations and statistical analysis with county scores.
  • We built the “Community Arts Vitality Model” to organize the indicators.
  • We set the base for indicator trend analysis. As time goes on, we can use rolling multi-year averages to smooth out year-to-year variation.
  • The LAI method can be scaled up to MSA, state or other regional aggregates.

And, there are cautions and concerns:

  • Many of the raw data series are based on surveys that are subject to biases, e.g., non-random samples, self-selection, non-response. Private membership organizations especially get their data from annual, voluntary surveys of their members. While their scope may be national, they may still have small sample sizes, and usually don’t have the same respondents in successive years.
  • There are lags between when the activity occurred, when data are released for analysis, and when we can incorporate them into reports. The lags are predictable, but persistent, and can be as long as two years. They are longest in the areas of employment and payroll, which are usually issued by the Census Bureau about 28 months after the period they describe.
  • The precision of the indicators can be no better than their underlying elements. There is no information available about the variance within individual series (except for a small number of government series). We can’t make assertions about confidence intervals for many of them.
  • The indicators do not cover every element of arts and culture activities, and many aspects escape annual measurement. We continue to seek out data sources that meet our criteria.
  • Associating each record uniquely with one county was sometimes challenging.
  • We made some adjustments for counties that are the sites of state or national headquarters for some arts-related activity, affecting measures in those counties. For example, the measure of NEA funding per capita excludes grants to state arts agencies which would skew per capita measures for the county where the state capital is located. Other data sources have wide variance that produces outliers in county-level analyses.

These articles and sources are by no means a comprehensive listing of helpful reading material, but it does incorporate literature that we examined in 2009-2012 as we prepared this site.

  • Blau, Judith R. (1989) The Shape of Culture: A Study of Contemporary Cultural Patterns in the United States. New York: Cambridge University Press
  • Bohne, Silber, Silber and Associates & Carole Rosenstein (2010) “Live From Your Neighborhood. A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals” Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts, retrieved from
  • Cohen, Martin, Randy Cohen, and Roland J. Kushner (2011) Local Arts Index partner handbook, prepared for Local Arts Index partners.
  • Creative Vitality Index studies, retrieved from
  • County Health Rankings of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, retrieved from
  • Community Indicator Consortium projects listed at:
  • Green, Gary Paul and Anna Haines (2012) Asset Building and Community Development 3rd ed. Los Angeles: Sage Publications
  • Jackson, Maria R., F. Kabwasa-Green & J. Herranz (2006) Cultural Vitality in Communities: Interpretation and Indicators. Washington, DC: Urban Institute
  • Kushner, Roland J. and Ariel Fogel (2010) “Measuring Local Arts Vitality: Lessons from Studies in Cities, Counties, States, and Regions” Working paper at Muhlenberg College
  • Kushner, Roland J. and Randy Cohen (2010, 2011, 2012). National Arts Index. An Annual Measure of the Vitality of Arts and Culture in the United States Washington, DC: Americans for the Arts, retrieved from
  • Savageau, David (2007) 25th Anniversary Places rated Almanac, 7th ed Washington, DC: Placed Rated Books LLC
  • Toffler, Alvin (September 1967) “The Art of Measuring the Arts” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 373, Social Goals and Indicators for American Society, Volume 2, 141-155

In this 2015 update, it is important to recognize how the Local Arts Index project benefited from support, kindness, encouragement, and insights of dozens of helpful people in private and public organizations. The help took many forms: providing data series, helping us interpret what they had, developing tools for data gathering and data reporting, advice on technology to enhance the process of sharing data, pointing us towards other potentially helpful sources, and sharing our interest in developing good measurement tools for the vitality of arts and culture. They are listed below along with the office where they worked at that time. This report would not have been possible without their support. This list only partially recognizes the many supporters of this project. Thank You!

  • The leaders, staff, volunteers, and communities of the LAI partners
  • The Kresge Foundation: Regina Smith
  • Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance: Tom Kaiden, John McInerney, Nick Crosson
  • York Cultural Alliance: Retired CEO, Joanne Riley
  • Drexel University: Cecilia Fitzgibbon
  • Urban Institute: Tom Pollak, Pho Palmer, and Jon Durnford
  • Muhlenberg College Department of Accounting, Business, and Economics
  • Muhlenberg College students Ariel Fogel ’11, Ryan M. Lindsay ’12, Emily Sakowitz, and Erika L. Davis ’16
  • Fred Eisenberg and Charles James, database design and programming
  • The Kyle David Group, Allentown, PA, provides data support, analytics, report structure, and web services: Kyle David, Jim Sullivan, Eric Decker, Joe Lampasona, John Lamont, Crystal Bancroft, Robert Sweeney
  • Many kind and collaborative partners in the federal government bureaus, private arts organizations, research institutions, and commercial data providers
  • Diane Ehrich, Ginny Cohen, Barbara Kushner

Martin Cohen, Randy Cohen, and Roland Kushner led the original Local Arts Index project. Randy Cohen continues as project manager and co-author, and Roland Kushner continues as research director and co-author. Martin Cohen remains “of counsel.” Students of Muhlenberg College have provided research support over the years, and our web/analytics/reporting/data partner is The Kyle David Group.

Martin Cohen is a principal in The Cultural Planning Group (, and is based near Philadelphia, PA. CPG is a consulting firm focused on the arts and culture sector that works with leading government arts agencies, philanthropic foundations, and arts and cultural organizations to strengthen them, their communities and the economy. He was Project Manager for the Local Arts Index from 2010 to 2012. Martin has been in arts administration for over 30 years having served as Director of the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, a program of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; Executive Director of Dance/USA, the Kansas City Ballet and the Washington Ballet. Martin holds a B.S. degree in Arts Administration from Ohio University and certificates in mediation from CDR Associates of Boulder, CO and executive coaching from the Wharton School Executive Education Program.

Randy Cohen is Vice President of Research and Policy at Americans for the Arts, the nation’s advocacy organization for the arts. A member of the staff since 1991, Randy stands out as one of the most noted experts in the field of arts funding, research, policy, and using the arts to address community development issues. He publishes The National Arts Index, the annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the U.S. as well as the two premier economic studies of the arts industry—Arts & Economic Prosperity, the national impact study of nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences; and Creative Industries, an annual mapping study of the nation’s 750,000 arts establishments and their employees. Randy led the development of the National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual convening of leaders who focus on the advancement of American culture, launched in 2006 in partnership with Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute. A sought after speaker, Randy has given speeches in 49 states, and regularly appears in the news media—including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on C-SPAN, CNN, CNBC, and NPR. His board work includes the League of Historic American Theaters, and the Takoma Park Arts & Humanities Commission, a municipal agency which he chaired for three years.

Roland J. Kushner, Ph.D., is associate professor of business at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, where he teaches courses in management, strategy, arts administration, and nonprofit management. He has a B.A. in history from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and MBA and Ph.D. degrees from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. He has conducted culture sector research projects for Americans for the Arts, Chorus America, Urban Institute, RAND, C. F. Martin & Company, and OPERA America, and provided management advisory services to many national and community organizations in the arts and other sectors. He wrote the instructor’s manual to Arthur C. Brooks’ “Social Entrepreneurship. A Modern Approach to Social Value Creation” (Pearson, 2009). With Randy Cohen, he is co-author of the 2009-2014 National Arts Index reports. His work has been published in Nonprofit Management & Leadership, Journal of Cultural Economics, International Journal of Arts Management, Journal of Arts Management, Law, & Society, Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly, and by Brookings Institution Press. A native of Ottawa, Canada, he has lived in Bethlehem, PA since 1980.

Other members of the LAI team over the years include students at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA, who have made many great contributions to creating this site and keeping it updated: Michael P. Brown, Jr. ’09, Ariel Fogel ’11, Ryan W. Lindsay ’12, Emily Sakowitz, and Erika L. Davis ’16.


Fast Facts from the Arts Index

Consumer arts spending steady at $150 billion!

Since 2002, consumer spending on the arts has remained in the $150 billion range, though as a share of all expenditures it has slipped from 1.88% in 2002 to 1.45% in 2010. Following four years of decreases, musical instrument sales rebounded, growing from $5.9 billion in 2009 to $6.3 billion in 2010.