I’ve Got Good News And Almost As Good News

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Art Words blog published an article on 7/6/2017 that should brighten your day; how much depends on whether you work at an orchestra or opera organization.

According to a recent report from the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA…not to be confused with ASCAP), Americans spent far more on tickets to live performing arts events in 2014 than they did in 2000.

In case you’re wondering what ACPSA is, here’s the official summary description:

The Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA) is produced through the partnership between the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Built with the BEA’s input-output (I-O) accounts, the ACPSA provides detailed statistics that illustrate the impact of arts and cultural production on the United States economy. Specifically, this account provides an assessment of the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to gross domestic product (GDP).

Adaptistration People 035According to their data, spending more than doubled (adjusted for inflation) from 2000 to 2014. There were clear drops in spending following the 9/11 and Economic Downturn recessions but those rebounded with enough of an uptick to reach those spending levels.

Biggest gains came from the opera sector, which experienced 8.7 percent average annual growth rates in consumer spending revenue. At the other end of that spectrum were orchestras (both symphonic and chamber), but that’s not to say there was a decrease, instead, the aver annual growth rate was 1.5 percent.

You can find a wealth of additional info at the BEA’s ACPSA website and you won’t want to miss the mini-treasure trove of data in the Impact of Arts and Culture on U.S. Economy in 2014 news release.

Update 7/14/2017: Thanks to Victoria Hutter, NEA Assistant Director – Press and Public Affairs for getting in touch to let me know they have since updated their original post to point out that the opera category included musical theater organizations.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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