In a time period when arts education is imperiled across the country, professional associations serving K-12 arts educators have an especially important role in supporting the teachers who actually deliver arts education services to students. The four main disciplines that make up the bulk of the arts curriculum in the U.S. are art, music, dance, and theatre. The associations for these four fields generously provided membership data for the LAI reports:

  • Educational Theater Association
  • National Art Education Association
  • National Association for Music Education
  • National Dance Education Organization

These associations provided postal zip codes on the location of their membership, which were associated with a county using the procedure to convert zip codes to FIPS designations described in the Methodology section (See the FAQ page at Their total membership exceeded 72,000 nationally in late 2010 and early 2011.

This indicator examines the local presence of these national professional societies through summing the total members of the four societies in each county to determine how many serve every 100,000 county residents. This indicator provides a measure of the density of skilled, educated arts professionals in a community. Not surprisingly there is a wide range of per capita membership in these professional societies, with big cities having relatively small per capita numbers, and more sparsely populated counties having large ones – even though they have smaller total numbers.

Additional information: Counties with indicator value = 2,702. Average county indicator value = 30.7. Median county indicator value = 25.8


Fast Facts from the Arts Index

The nonprofit arts grow – despite a recession!

The number of nonprofit arts organizations has grown annually, reaching 113,000 in 2010. In the past decade, nonprofit arts organizations grew 49% (76,000 to 113,000), a greater rate than all nonprofit organizations, which grew 32% (1.2 million to 1.6 million).