Commentary: Proposed state funding cuts reversed thanks to arts advocates

Justin Knabb, Americans for the Arts blog, 7/1/11

Ohio's state arts council will enjoy a 30.5% increase in funding for the 2012-13 biennium - 62.1% more than Governor John Kasich had proposed. However, legislatures decided to increase that number to $17.2 million, and the governor agreed!  In Pennsylvania, the House of Representatives had proposed a 70% reduction to the $9 million budget of the [state's] Council on the Arts -- a stark contrast to Governor Tom Corbett's request for essentially flat funding. The Senate did not concur, and reinstated the funding. The House acquiesced, and the amended budget was sent to the governor for approval.  Finally, the New Jersey Legislature was pushing for a 27% cut to the $16 million budget of the state arts agency, but Governor Chris Christie removed language in the final budget that would have enacted those cuts. And, as most are already aware, South Carolinians scored a major victory as the legislature voted to override Governor Nikki Haley's line-item veto of arts funding, thus preserving the $1.9 million allocation to their arts commission.  With each of these victories, a powerful statement is being conveyed all across the nation: arts advocates are unwilling to tolerate partisan rhetoric that claims state arts agencies provide superfluous functions. And when they come together to voice this sentiment, legislators listen. These feats could not have been accomplished without strong advocacy organizations that cultivate strong advocates.


Related: NYC arts groups escape deep budget cuts, after "budget dance"

Crains' New York Business, 7/1/11

After yet another year of in which [New York City's] cultural institutions were threatened by proposed deep budget cuts from the city, nearly all the money was restored in the final budget for this fiscal year.  The cultural institutions group -- made up of all the arts groups in city-owned building -- received an initial restoration of $20.5 million of its proposed $33.7 million cut. Sources say Mayor Bloomberg is going to put in an additional $10 million from discretionary funds, nearly fully restoring the CIGs funding.  Funding for the hundreds of arts institutions that are not in city-owned buildings received a restoration of $9 million, basically erasing their proposed cut.  Arts executives had expected little restoration this year because of the city's precarious financial state. Though they were thrilled with the final numbers, they questioned why they have been forced to go through this "budget dance" every year.


New research on artist employment projections through 2018 shows some hope

National Endowment for the Arts website, 6/30/11

For the first time, the NEA looks at future job prospects for a variety of artist occupations in [a new report] Artist Employment Projections through 2018.

> The highest projected growth rates [include] museum technicians and conservators (26%), curators (23%), writers and authors (15%), and multi-media artists and animators (14%).

> Artist occupations likely to increase at a rate on par with the growth of the overall U.S. labor force are: graphic designers and actors (both 13%), art directors, photographers, and film and video editors (12%), and fine artists (9%), including painters, sculptors, and illustrators.

> Among the artist occupations with the lowest projected growth rates are choreographers (5%).

The outlook for all occupations is informed by two key factors: growth (the number of new available jobs) and competition (the relationship between the number of job openings and job-seekers). Industry trends in [other] fields affect the growth of many artist occupations. For example, as audiences turn to the Internet and interactive media, graphic designers, multimedia artists, and writers may benefit.  Other occupations, such as dance, rely not on external industry trends, but on factors such as contributed income and audience attendance, both of which are influenced by the U.S. economy. Jobs in the dance category are projected to grow only slightly and competition is intense, making regular employment a challenge. A recent Georgetown University studyreports that two-thirds of the 46.8 million jobs created by 2018 will require workers with at least some college-level education. As previously noted in the NEA's Artists in the Workforce study, arts workers are twice as likely to have college degrees as other U.S. workers -- a structural shift that may provide some advantage to artists in the U.S. economy. Additionally, the first national profile of people who train in the artsat the high school or college level found that most arts graduates are employed and holding jobs consistent with their educational goals.


Survey: More than 3/4 of arts orgs say digital & social media boost ticket sales 

Trudel|MacPherson website, 6/29/11

[American] arts organizations using digital and social media to boost ticket sales or to sell tickets directly via online channels are seeing significant results. A combined 77.5% of respondents report online efforts and activities are yielding some degree of success with ticket sales.

  • 42.7% report "some results"
  • 23.7% report "good results"
  • 6.7% report "major results"
  • 4.4% say that digital and social media have become "mission critical" where ticket sales are concerned.
  • Only 7.6% of respondents to date report no results.

More on the survey: How Strong is Your Social Net? measures messaging alignment, resource allocation and communications effectiveness of arts organizations across the country. The landmark research effort, the first of what will be an annual series, will provide a robust cross-section of current practices and perceptions, enabling arts groups to compare their experiences to national trends.  T|M established an initial national baseline of data by inviting select nonprofit arts groups to take the survey. The objective of the baseline phase was to establish a statistical snapshot of arts organizations around the country using known measures such as population density, concentrations of funding, and proximity to major metropolitan areas. Thus far, T|M has collected over 1,300 responses nationwide, more than two and a half times the original statistical target for the baseline. T|M has now opened the survey to all [U.S.] arts organizations.  T|M will release the findings of the survey on September 21. In October, a searchable summary of the national project's results and insights will be made available on the T|M website with interactivity that will allow visitors to filter, search, and view the data in ways relevant to their interests and situation -- interpreting information by region, by population or by digital communications objectives, for example.

Please consider the environment before printing out this email.  Thanks.
YOU'VE COTT MAIL is a free service for professionals in the arts.  Emails are sent most weekdays. 
If you are not already on the distribution list and would like to sign up, please click here:

Join Our Mailing List      Follow me on Twitter     
Click here to view an archive of recent past editions of "You've Cott Mail."