The National Arts Index

March 3, 2010 - 9:00am to 11:30am

Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater

How do we measure the health of the cultural sector? Although tools exist to take the pulse of the economy, until now, Americans have not had an index of cultural indicators that tells us about the cultural health of the country. TheNational Arts Index combines four kinds of measures—

  • financial (measures of artists’ income; revenues to arts organizations);
  • capacity (measures of capital assets and employment);
  • participation (measures of attendance and personal art making); and
  • competitiveness (the number of degrees granted in the arts; philanthropic support for the arts).

Taken together, these indicators present a comprehensive assessment of the health of the arts in the U.S. and, considered over time, the Index gives us a sense of the direction for the arts sector — a kind of cultural “canary‐in‐the‐coal‐mine.”

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion about what this means for the arts in Chicago and how we can use this kind of research to strengthen the sector.

This event was co‐sponsored by the CPC, the Chicago Department of Cultural AffairsArts Alliance Illinois, and the Arts & Business Council of Chicago.