Today, Americans for the Arts released our new National Arts Index at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. This report represents a major milestone for arts in America. Never before has there been a single and annually produced measure of the health and vitality of the arts in America.
While new for the arts, we interact with indicators daily. If you want to know about the stock market, you check the Dow-Jones Index. Are we optimistic about the economy? Track the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. Indicators are broad measures that compress a lot of data into a single indicator.
The National Arts Index is an annual measure that uses 76 equal-weighted, national-level indicators of arts activity-making it one of the largest data sets about the arts industries ever assembled. This new report covers an 11-year period, from 1998 to 2008.
The 2008 National Arts Index score is 98.4-down 4.2 points from its 2007 score of 102.6 (2003=100). A score of 105.5 would return the Index to its highest point, measured in 1999. While the arts industries in the U.S. have become increasingly creative and the number of working artists and arts organizations is growing, audience demand has failed to keep pace-causing the National Arts Index to drop to its lowest level in the 11 years we’ve tracked.
The overall Index score is only one of the big stories in this report. Read the rest of this entry »