GIA: Arts Funding at Twenty Five

A recent special report from Grantmakers in the Arts analyzes data trends in arts philanthropy over the last twenty five years. Written by Steven Lawrence, the report brings together findings from previous Arts Funding reports, annual “snapshot” analyses, and various other data points from the field. Ultimately, as the author notes, the “examination of changing sources of support for arts and culture in the 1980s, 1990s, and since 2000 illustrates how funding has evolved during this time and the factors propelling those changes — from economic booms and busts to political controversies to unprecedented growth in private support.”

The report looks at trends in the 1980s, 1990s, and since 2000. Some high-level observations within each time period include:

  • “The 1980s witnessed fluctuations in the relative importance of various private and public sources of support for the US arts and cultural community that would be magnified in the following decade. Yet, the overall outlook was positive as growing resources helped to fuel the expansion of the arts and cultural sector.”
  • In the 1990s, funding outlooks were generally optimistic, as federal support for the NEA had stabilized by the end of the decade. However, the arts community expressed concern over the isolation of the arts “in the wake of culture wars and a perceived anti-arts backlash.”
  • Since 2000, support for the arts has lost ground relative to other priorities. “Unlike in prior economic downturns, where the arts showed consistency and resilience, an examination of recent arts and culture revenue and public and private funding suggests that the arts as they are traditionally perceived may represent a diminishing priority for foundation and corporate donors. While the nominal value of support for arts and culture in the United States remains impressive, relative to changes in support for other priorities, the arts have unquestionably lost ground.”

You can learn more about these trends and read the full report here

Published: February 22, 2018