Minneapolis area arts economy sixth biggest in nation

The arts economy in Minneapolis is one of the biggest of any city in the nation, according to a new report that examines arts jobs, consumer spending and revenue of arts organizations. Data in the Creative Index shows that the Minneapolis area arts sector is the sixth biggest in the nation and is an integral, thriving part of the local economy that has stayed steady even during tough economic times.

This index examines aspects of the creative economy that have never been measured before in Minneapolis. The data measures the Minneapolis creative economy down to the ZIP code level of detail, and it compares the concentration of Minneapolis creative jobs to the national average for those fields (for instance, the concentration of photographers or dancers, etc.).

This is the first time this data has been compiled for Minneapolis, and it places the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area sixth nationally behind that of Washington, D.C.; New York; Los Angeles; San Francisco and Boston. The creative index score for just the city of Minneapolis outpaces the national average by 4.8 times. Minneapolis nonprofit arts organizations have 13.5 times the national average in revenue and charitable giving. Minneapolis per capita revenues for theater companies and dinner theaters are 14 times the national average. Performing arts revenues in Minneapolis earn nearly 10 times more than the national average.

The nonprofit and for-profit creative sector pumps an annual average of $700 million into the Minneapolis economy. It is a significant piece of Minneapolis employment that employs nearly 20,000 workers, making up 5 percent of all jobs in Minneapolis proper. Retail sales in the Minneapolis creative economy are roughly 70 percent of the size of retail in the Minneapolis sports economy. Nonprofit arts and culture attendees are known to create an average ripple effect of $20.40 per person in event-related purchases such as restaurants and parking.

The report broadens the definition of the creative sector to show artists as skilled producers of products and services at the center of a thriving, active creative economy that includes creative industries, community participants and arts audiences. Members of the public have a vital role to play in supporting the creative ecology, and the creative index demonstrates the value of cultural participation whether folks are attending a play, photographing their surroundings or buying their first guitar.

Policymakers, arts professionals, grant-makers, artists, workers, audiences, fans, advocates and neighborhoods will use the index and its annual updates in multiple ways. The City of Minneapolis will use the index as a baseline measure to develop its next arts and culture plan, to develop arts and culture goals for the Minneapolis Convention Center, to reinvent the city’s oldest street in “Plan-it Hennepin,” and to play on the identified strengths – or to work to counter deficiencies – in affected plans and policies.

In the coming weeks, staff of the City’s Arts, Culture and Creative Economy will present the findings to stakeholder groups and arts participants. For more information and a copy of the report, visit www.minneapolismn.gov/coordinator/arts/index.htm.

Published Feb 28, 2013



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