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Arts Industry Recovering from Great Recession

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Apr 10, 2012

The arts industry has finally begun to recover from the effects of the Great Recession, indicates Americans for the Arts' 2012 Arts Index. The 2012 edition of this annual measure of the health and vitality of the arts industries in the U.S. was released earlier this month. According to the Index, the vitality of the arts industry is starting to trend upward after reaching an all-time low in 2009.

Key findings include:

  • Advances in technology have drastically changed the way Americans consume art: In 2009, digital formats comprised 41 percent of total music sales in the U.S., up 34 percent from 2008.
  • America's arts industries have a growing international audience: U.S. exports of arts goods increased 12 percent between 2009 and 2010.
  • Arts employment has remained strong: From 1996 to 2010, the number of working artists rose 15 percent.
  • Significant growth in the number of non-profit arts organizations: In the past decade, the number of these organizations has ballooned 49 percent.
  • Arts education equity gap: Despite evidence of decreases in K-12 arts education, the percentage of college-bound seniors with four years of arts or music education grew over the past decade from 15 percent to 20 percent of all SAT test takers.
  • Despite turnaround, arts industry still faces some critical financial challenges: In 2010, 43 percent of nonprofit arts organizations had an operating deficit.

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