State governments are important supporters of arts and culture, reaching communities, organizations, and artists through a variety of funding programs. State arts agencies are funded by allocations from their state legislatures as well as by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. This indicator measures state arts agency funding per capita in each county.

We obtained data from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), which collects data from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. NASAA provided data for funding by states in fiscal years 2003-2009. Arts funding was grouped by county, aggregated for all of the years, and that sum then divided by the 2010 county population. The indicator can be interpreted as the cumulative state arts agency dollars serving each county resident in the seven-year span of 2003-2009.

A point to consider when comparing one county to another: state arts agency funding comparisons will be most valid within a state, and not to counties in other states. This is because policies and funding amounts vary widely state-to-state.


Additional Information: Counties with indicator value = 2,750. Average county indicator value = $4.92. Median county indicator value = $1.89.


Fast Facts from the Arts Index

International cultural tourism proves recession-proof. Arts travelers are ideal tourists—they stay longer and spend more.  The U.S. Dept of Commerce reports that the percentage of int’l travelers including museum visits on their trip has grown annually since 2003 (17% to 24%), while those including concerts and theater performances have increased five of the past seven years (13% to 17% since 2003).