Monday, July 10, 2017

New York City, An Arts Capital? Think Again

Hello Everyone:

Welcome to the first full week of via iPad.  Quite honestly, yours truly is rather enjoying using the trusty iPad: greater mobility and way easier to tote around.  That said, shall we talk about where the real American arts capitals are?

Traditionally, the great East Coast cities of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia have been the epicenters of American arts and culture.  Gradually the centers of American arts and culture moved west, toward Los Angeles.  Arts and culture are the key components of a flourishing urban economy. You do not have take to Blogger's word for it, this is Richard Florida's conclusion from his own research, reported in a CityLab article "Where Are Art's Real Arts Capital?"  He writes, "...arts and cultura; employment is one of three key drivers of urban economies-alongside science/ technology and business/management occupations."  Two recent studies, the first by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, provide fresh data and perspective on just how much of a contribution arts and culture make to state and local economies.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports:

Arts and cultural economic activity accounted for 4.2 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, or $729.6 billion, in 2014.  Arts and culture, including supporting industries, accounted for 4.8 million wage and salary jobs across the nation.  (; date accessed July 10, 2017)

The analysis tracked the geographic distribution of arts and cultural job across metropolitans.

Richard Florida adds, "The data is based on arts and culture employment measured by BEA's Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account...The account produces statistics for 'cire' arts and cultural activities such writers, artists, designers...mangers, agents, ...museums, galleries, historical sites, and nature parks."  Also included in the study were the supporting industries: broadcasters, grant makers, and musical instrument repair people.

In 2014, the latest numbers available, the arts and culture occupations employed about 1 million Americans.  "That's less than 1 percent of all workers.  Performing arts and design services accounted for about three-quarters of employment in core arts and cultural production industries."  In essence, the key driver of the arts and cultural economy is "...the creation of new work from related industries that makes the arts such a such a key way to generate economic growth."  For example painting: painters are the core arts workers, however they generate work for the frame makers, studio space landlords, gallery workers, and supply manufacturers, all working in arts-related industries.  It does add up.

If you go to the article link, you can check out a map, " Arts and Culture Employment Location Quotient, 2014," produced by the BEA.  The BEA uses location quotients to indicate the concentrate levels of state arts and culture employment relative to the national average.  Mr. Florida reports, "An LQ of 1 means a state is equal the national average, while an LQ of 1.5 means it its 50 percent higher, of 2 means it is double and so on.  Dark blue on the map indicates with higher LQs."

Washington D.C. ranks first with an LQ of 2.5.  This is comparable to metropolitans in other states.  The historic bastion of arts and culture-New York-is second (1.47)-owing to its great concentration of arts and culture.  The big surprise is the states, with two exceptions, rounding out the top ten are out west.  Surprise, the number three state is Wyoming (1.3), this followed by Washington (1.28), tied for fourth are California and Utah (1.7 each), the tiny state of Rhode Island and Colorado both have an LQ of 1.13.  Another surprise is Alaska with an LQ of 1.11, another historic arts and cultural center Massachusetts and Oregon are tied with 1.08.  Mr. Florida notes, "Notes the large span of dark blue signaling states with arts and cultural employment LQs of 1.09 to 2.51 out West. Part of the outsized role of arts and culture jobs in the West has to do with government programs within American Indian tribal councils."  The sprawling Wyoming parklands also enhance its ranking over Utah and Colorado.

The next map,charting the increase of arts and cultural employment by state, also produced by the BEA. ( Twenty-four out of the fifty states experienced an increase in arts and cultural employment.    Like the LQ map, there are a few surprises. Pay attention to the red areas: these demonstrate it her Roth rates in the Western states and parts of the South.  "Washington led all states with 5.7 percent growth, followed by Arizona (4.4percent), Utah (4.0 percent), Nevada (3.9 percent), and Florida (3.3 percent).  Texas, California, Idaho, Georgia Florida, Maryland also saw relatively high rates of growth."

The second analysis that provides a fresh data and perspective on the contribution of arts and culture to the American economy is a a report issue by the National Center for Arts Research gauging an Arts Vibrancy Index (; date accessed July 10, 2017).  The analysis calculated the number of non-profit arts and cultural organization, how much revenue they generated, and government support per capita in a metropolitan and micropolitan areas (and divisions) in 2015.

The analysis also followed the diversity in 11 arts and cultural profession: arts education, museums, community, dance, music, opera,...

Again, if you follow the link ( you can check out an interactive county heat map of the Arts Vibrancy Index, which assigns a score of 0 to 100 to those component parts-"reflecting from red to green what percentile a county is for its level of artistic engagement."  Let us break it down by large metropolitans, medium-sized metropolitans, and micropolitan areas.

Large Metropolitans: No argument over the cultural allure of New York City and Los Angeles, the bicoastal homes for the nation's literary, media, and entertainment industries.  The big surprise here is Washington D.C.  The home of bipartisan bickering is the number one large metropolitan for arts and cultural economies.  This followed by New York, San Francisco, Nashville, Minneapolis-St. Paul (really), Boston, finally Los Angeles.  D.C. suburbs Silver Spring and Rockville, Newark, New Jersey (yes); and Seattle round out the top ten.  Philadelphia, Cambridge, Portland, Denver, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Austin, New Orleans, Rochester, and Richmond occupy the number ten through twenty spots.  

Medium-sized metropolitans: Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in Berkshire County, hold the number one spot for medium-sized metropolitans between 100,000 and 1 million people.  Pittsfield is followed by Santa Fe, New Mexico; Missoula, Montana (something that should put a smile on David Lynch's face). Senator Bernie Sanders that his hometown of Burlington, Vermont also made the top ten arts and cultural economic contributor for medium-sized metropolitans.  Bremerton-Silverdale, Washington; Ithaca, New York; Asheville, North Carolina; Barnstable Town, Massachusetts; and Des Moines, Iowa (yes) fill out the top ten.

Micropolitan as: Richard Florida observes, "The list of smaller areas is dominated by high-amenity places in the mountain West or East Coast."  Breckinridge, Colorado is the number one micropolitan areas.  Breckingridge is followed by Summit Park Utah; Bennington, Vermont, and  Bozeman, Montana.  The micropolitan are also home to artist and creative colonies.  These colonies are located in in diverse places like: Hudson, New York along the Hudson River; Greenfield Town, Massachusetts; Oneonta, New York; Juneau, Alaska; Jackson, Wyoming; and Vineyard Have, Massachusetts all made the top ten.  

Both studies present concrete evidence regarding the impact of the arts to local economies and to the attractiveness of and quality of communal life.  The studies both place Washington D.C., a place that seems more like a gray monolith for bickering politicians and know-it-all policy wonks than a place for a flourishing arts and cultural scene, heads both of their rankings.

Richard Florida admits, "D.C. admittedly is a bit of an outlier, with its dense abundance of government-funded national museums."  However, D.C. offers many others cultural amenities accentuates how people who come to work for one industry often generate demand for related arts and culture-"with or without actual; artist flocking to a particular scene."  Call it agglomeration.  The takeaway for civic leaders in other metropolitans and micropolitan so: "You don't have to be New York or Los Angeles to benefit from the arts.  Smaller states and towns can also foster and benefit from being hubs artistic X and creative activity."

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