Independent artists are one of the most vivid pieces of evidence that the arts are thriving in a place. Solo artists, regardless of artistic medium or discipline, are very often both the fuel and the spark of a local arts scene. Many artists are also entrepreneurs, launching their work into the world through their own studios, performance spaces, and readings. Overall, we think of the presence of solo artists as a marker of the capacity of a community to deliver the arts.

The North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) is a system of 1,800 codes for classifying businesses into one or another industry. The Local and National Arts Index reports use a set of 44 NAICS codes that we selected as the best representation of arts and culture from those 1,800 codes. The Census Bureau provides county-level tallies of establishments, employment, and payroll in the County Business Patterns web site. The Bureau of the Census provides data on the number of “non-employer” businesses in many NAICS codes.

This indicator measures the number of solo artists per 100,000 residents of a county. They are identified as solo artists by non-employer establishments in four-digit NAICS code 7115, which describes “Independent artists, writers, and performers.” Nationally, there were 710,000 such solo artists in 2010. This indicator is also in the National Arts Index.

 

Additional Information: Counties with indicator value = 2,491. Average county indicator value = 147.6. Median county indicator value = 113.7.

 

Fast Facts from the Arts Index

We share with the world!

International arts exports increase: U.S. exports of arts goods increased from $56 to $64 billion between 2009 and 2010 (+12%).  With U.S. imports at just $23 billion, the arts achieved a $41 billion trade surplus in 2010.  The percentage of international travelers that include the arts on their visits to the U.S. has increased annually since 2003.