Arts Alert: State of the Arts & Culture Report Launched at Arts Advocacy Day

Arts Advocacy Day Brings Hundreds to Capitol

The halls of the Capitol were thronged with arts advocates last Thursday, bringing a message of “Thank You!” to legislators from across the state for the arts funding that is increasing access to the arts statewide.  Attendance at arts events has increased by 20% since Legacy funding began.

Thank you to everyone who came to the capitol and helped us make the case for the arts! Many more photos from the day can be found on MCA’s facebook page at:

Highlights of the day included:

  • Nearly 500 smart, committed arts advocates making a difference for their community!
  • “Standing Ovation” award to Speaker Thissen for his help last session in obtaining increased arts funding.
  • Launch of the State of the Arts and Culture Report
  • “Larry Award” given to unsung arts advocacy hero James Wafler, a longtime member of MCA’s Board
  • “Legacy Partners” awards to the boards and volunteers of the Regional Arts Councils and State Arts Board for their effective and extensive use of pubic panels

MCA Announces New “State of the Arts and Culture Report”

MCA has partnered with Minnesota’s arts funders to launch research for a State of the Arts and Culture Report to be released January, 2015.   The report will be updated every two years, giving us a look at the sector over time, and will draw from information collected by the CDP as well as audience surveys, grantee data and other methods. Funding partners so far include the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils.

“There has not been a coordinated effort to create consistent data over time about the arts & culture sector in Minnesota, and this project is intended to overcome that deficit,” said Sheila Smith, MCA’s Executive Director. “Now that a large number of arts & culture organizations are participating in the Cultural Data Project (CDP), we have an opportunity to create a clearer, more detailed and reliable look at the sector.”

Make sure you are counted!
Nonprofit arts and culture organizations
not already in CDP
can participate by filling in a brief online survey here:

Will Update 2007’s The Arts: A Driving Force in Minnesota’s Economy

The most recent economic impact studies of the arts & culture in Minnesota were done way back in 2007.  “The Arts: A Driving Force in Minnesota’s Economy” found that the sector contributed $835M annually to Minnesota’s economy. A second study, “Artists Count: An Economic Impact Study of Individual Artists in Minnesota” found that individual artists contribute over $200M more, for a total of over a billion dollars a year. Links to these reports can be found on MCA’s website at

“There has been a boom, a recession and a recovery since the last study in 2007, and we are interested in seeing how those changes have affected the arts & culture sector,” said Smith.

The economic impact part of the study will be conducted by Americans for the Arts as a part of their The Arts & Economic Prosperity IV. ( It will evaluate the impact of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences on the local economy.

Minnesota’s Regional Arts Councils will coordinate and collect audience-intercept surveys from at least 3300 attendees to cultural performances, events, and exhibits that take place in the state. Further information will be gathered from the CDP, grantee information from grantmakers and online surveys from organizations not already participating in CDP. The study will also look at other issues beyond economic impact.

The Cultural Data Project offers a powerful online management tool designed to strengthen arts and cultural organizations. Minnesota’s participation in CDP is a collaborative project of Minnesota’s 29 arts funders and statewide service organizations: This groundbreaking project gathers reliable, longitudinal data on the sector. Their emerging national standard enables participating organizations to track trends and benchmark their progress through sophisticated reporting tools, empowers researchers and advocates with information to make the case for arts and culture, and equips funders with data to plan and evaluate grant making activities more effectively.