Profile of Local Arts Agencies

Americans are more engaged in the arts now than ever before as a result of the remarkable growth and impact of our nation’s 4,500 local arts agencies—nonprofit organizations and municipal agencies that work tirelessly to ensure that the arts and culture have a vital presence in America’s communities from coast to coast.

In 2018, Americans for the Arts commenced the Profile of Local Arts Agencies, a new annual survey designed to illuminate the ever-adapting role of local arts agencies (LAAs). The Profile will track and examine trends in the programs, budgets, and operations of the LAA field. Each year, the survey includes a pair of supplemental modules that will take a deeper dive into specific topics—in 2018, the supplemental topics included (1) Grantmaking and Equitable Investment, and (2) LAA Salaries and Compensation. The release of the profile includes our new interactive LAA Dashboard, reports as well as a series of infographics for selected findings.

Visit the Profile of Local Arts Agencies page details.

Equitable Investment Policies and Practices in the Local Arts Field

This report reviews results from the 2018 Local Arts Agency Profile, an annual survey deployed in April 2018, with a particular focus on an added module to the survey about how, when, and where LAAs in the United States currently consider equity in the deployment of their funds, time, space, and staff. The data was gathered from a broadly representative sample of 537 local arts agencies in the United States of varying budget size, community size, tax status, geography, etc.

Local Arts Agency Census Released May 2016

Americans for the Arts partnered with the National Endowment for the Arts to conduct The Local Arts Agency Census to illuminate the ever-adapting role our nation’s 4,500 local arts agencies play in ensuring the arts have a vital presence in every community. With surveys collected from more than 1,000 local arts agencies throughout 2015, the census represents the most comprehensive survey to date of the local arts agency (LAA) field.

The Local Arts Agency Census paints the portrait of the programs, budgets, and operations of the LAA field as of 2015.  Below, please find our 25 Highlights Report along with other resources. We will be releasing more topic-based one-page reports throughout the year. The schedule of topics below will help guide you on when to expect future reports.

Visit the Local Arts Agency Census Page to details.

Local Arts Agency Salaries 2013 Research Report

The Local Arts Agency Salaries 2013 research report benchmarks the vast and varied compensation practices of the local arts field in America today. As the previous iteration of this report did when it was published in 2001, the 2013 report will assist LAA executives and employees in evaluating staffing and salary levels, setting pay rates, determining incremental compensation adjustments, and better understanding the varied benefit options and structures currently at play in the field.

Some quick figures from the report:

  • Full-time employees earn an average annual salary of just more than $66,000.
  • 86 percent of the full-time respondents were white and 72 percent were female.
  • Full-time employees had an average approximate age of 52.5 years.
  • 91 percent of full-time employees have a college degree.
  • Salaries of staff at city agencies averaged about $5,000 more than at county agencies and about $10,000 more than at multi-county agencies.
  • Salaries increased by budget size, number of people in the service region, and number of employees.

Read the full report for more details and check out responses to this survey we published on Americans for the Arts ARTSblog.

New Community Visions Initiative

Launching in 2015 with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation—and in partnership with 30 local, state, and national arts organizations, arts agencies, and foundations—the New Community Visions Initiative is an ambitious two-year effort to explore the future of local arts in America and the role of community-based arts enabling organizations, funders, cultural institutions, and artists in shaping that future.

Incorporating twelve regional and national convenings, ten commissioned essays, and the release of a library of resources and digital engagement anchored by three books, this project aims to put forth a forward-looking blueprint for 21st century local arts development that will drive ten years of local-level capacity building, transformation, and change in order to create healthier communities over time. More information