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Arts, Culture and Californians Charting Arts Participation and Organizations in a Vast, Diverse State

September 19, 2011

Arts and culture play a significant role in the daily lives of Californians. The state is noteworthy for the avid participation of its people, the diversity and abundance of its arts organizations and the varied regional characteristics of its arts sector. California's regions reflect distinctive populations, participation rates, numbers and types of arts and culture organizations, and levels of arts funding.These points are drawn from a new report, California's Arts and Cultural Ecology, created by Markusen Economic Research for The James Irvine Foundation. The report is based on data gathered from multiple sources describing the California arts and culture sector and public involvement, and includes a detailed technical appendix. Access the full research at here in highlight form, this information is intended to guide the approaches of arts and culture leaders, funders and policymakers. It invites further investigation by interested researchers, and offers Californians deeper understanding of how they and their communities fit into the state's arts and culture ecology. Plus, it encourages the growing practice of integrating arts into initiatives in education, housing, health care and other areas of community well-being.The research featured here affirms, and extends well beyond, the economic benefits of arts and culture. It sheds new light on the role of this sector in the lives of Californians, illustrating its significance to people and communities throughout the nation's most-populated and diverse state.A note on participation. As new data sets and measures become available, future studies can more fully describe participation by including emerging ways people experience arts and culture, for example, through digital technology and via online communities. They may also further distinguish forms of deep engagement; for example, making art and practicing cultural traditions, versus attending events or exhibits.

California's Arts and Cultural Ecology

September 19, 2011

Californians create, organize, and nurture one of the world's richest arts and cultural ecologies. Across diverse landscapes, they preserve traditions and unveil cutting-edge new artwork. As artists, cultural leaders, community-builders, and arts lovers, they build organizations that nurse creativity from conception through production, presentation, and participation.California's arts and cultural ecology encompasses complex ties among people, organizations, and places. An ecological approach underscores the prominence and contributions of these arts ecology components and how they can be strengthened, especially in times of economic austerity.California's arts and cultural nonprofits play an initiating and pivotal role in this ecology. They are important shapers of the state's internationally renowned cultural industries. They preserve, commission, and present a cornucopia of music, performance, heritage, and visual arts to people in all of the state's regions, across age groups and ethnicities at all levels of income and wealth.Our study documents the budget size, disciplinary focus, and intrinsic and economic impacts of nearly 11,000 California arts and cultural nonprofits, mapping them onto cities and regions. We use new data from the California Cultural Data Project, The National Center for Charitable Statistics, the American Community Survey, the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, and Impact Analysis for Planning. To explore causal connections, we correlate elements of this mosaic with community characteristics. We detail how people work for the sector, volunteer, and make financial contributions. We show the overall impact of people and organizations on California's economy in terms of jobs, income, output, and state and local tax revenue. With interview data, we offer qualitative insights into governance, interorganizational relationships, and special challenges for small nonprofits. California's nonprofit arts and cultural organizationsCalifornia hosts more nonprofit arts and cultural organizations than do most of the world's nations. Their ranks include multipurpose cultural centers, science and visual arts museums, symphony orchestras and folk ensembles, artist service organizations, ethnic arts groups, literary societies, dance companies, professional associations, and many more. Some have no formal budgets, do little fundraising, and operate chiefly on energetic contributions of volunteers. Others manage sizable budgets with extensive staff, run large productions and venues, and rely less on volunteers.California's nearly 11,000 arts and cultural nonprofits operate across the state's regions. Smaller organizations vastly outnumber large ones, with 85% of organizational budgets falling under $250,000 and 48% under $25,000. Yet California's nonprofits have a much larger footprint than formal budgets convey, because at all budget sizes, they engage the services of substantial numbers of volunteers and receive in-kind contributions of time and materials uncommon in public and for-profit sectors.Reflecting California's ethnic diversity and its immigrant character, 22% of California's arts and cultural nonprofits focus on ethnic, folk arts, and multidisciplinary work. Another fifth focus on humanities, legacy, and other museums. Visual arts organizations, including art museums, comprise 5% of California nonprofits, but 10% of those with budgets over $10 million.

California's Arts and Cultural Ecology Technical Appendix

September 19, 2011

In this technical appendix, we describe our data sources and document the quantitative and qualitative methods we used to evaluate characteristics of California's arts and cultural nonprofit organizations and their host communities. We integrated quantitative data from five main sources, each with limitations and advantages, from which we made requisite correcting adjustments.By carefully designing three key indicator variables -- budget size, organization focus area (mission and/or artistic discipline), and region -- we assessed how arts and cultural organizations vary across California.To make use of the rich data available from the California Cultural Data Project, we investigated how well the data represent the entire landscape of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in California. Based on the results, we designed a method for weighting the Cultural Data Project data to improve estimates.To explore how Californians' arts participation compares with the rest of the U.S. and varies across large metros in the state, we used data from the National Endowment for the Arts' Survey of Public Participation in the Arts.To investigate how arts and cultural organizations reflect and vary by the characteristics of the communities in which they are located, we compiled and analyzed data from the U.S. Census and other supplemental sources.For estimating the economic impact of California's arts and cultural organizations, we used the Impact Analysis for Planning input-output model and data for the state of California.This appendix also covers methodologies used in our interviewing work. To illustrate special features of California's smaller arts and cultural organizations and the challenges they face, we used data from interviews with organizations that are typical of those underrepresented in other data sources.Our careful approach integrates the best available data sources to shed new light on California's nonprofit arts and cultural ecology and the cities, towns, and communities in which it is embedded.