There is no single paradigm or standard for what constitutes the “arts community” in any place; in fact, the populations of arts organizations differ from place to place around the U.S. One way in which they vary is the mix of commercial and nonprofit organizations.

This indicator measures that blend of arts and business as the arts nonprofits’ share of all arts establishments. The first figure, total arts nonprofits, comes from the 2009 Core data used in other LAI indicators; the second figure, total arts-centric businesses, is from the “Creative Industries” data collected in 2011 by Dun & Bradstreet. To be clear, this indicator measures numbers of organizations, not revenues or expenses.

A large or small share of arts organizations is not a matter of strength or weakness for any given arts community so much as it is an element of individual character or nature. Many major perspectives of arts success are based primarily on the nonprofit arts sector, but commercial arts companies surely make very significant contributions to the makeup of the arts in communities, such as when a well-known nightspot or commercial gallery is a significant part of a community’s arts identity.

 

Additional Information: Counties with indicator value = 2,536. Average county indicator value = 10%. Median county indicator value = 7%.

 

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).