2006 Arts Funder Survey, "Arts in the Balance"
Southern California Grantmakers releases survey findings for arts funding in Los Angeles County.
CONTACT: Susan Dunn
Dunn & Associates
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GRANKMAKERS RELEASES THE MOST IN-DEPTH SURVEY TO DATE ON ARTS FUNDING IN L.A. COUNTY
The Future of our Region's
Nonprofit Arts Sector is in Jeopardy
Los Angeles, CA, November 16, 2006 — "Arts in the Balance," which summarizes the fourth biennial survey of corporate, foundation and government arts funding in Los Angeles County, was released today by Southern California Grantmakers (SCG). SCG conducted the 2004/2005 survey in partnership with Los Angeles Arts Funders and the UCLA Center for Civil Society. The most in-depth review of its kind to date, the survey tracked arts giving in L.A. County for 2004, the funders' most recently completed fiscal year.
When compared with previous surveys conducted for the 1998, 2000 and 2002 fiscal years, the 2004 results point toward flows that remain at the 2000 level. At the same time, L.A.'s nonprofit sector expanded by 20 percent, indicating public and private funding flows are unlikely to increase enough to sustain L.A.'s growing nonprofit arts community.
"It's vital to emphasize the role of vibrant nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in giving voice to L.A.'s increasing number of diverse communities. It is disconcerting that in the entertainment capital of the world, an industry built on creativity, only the largest nonprofit arts institutions can count on private support. The future of our region's nonprofit arts sector is in jeopardy," said Judy Spiegel, interim president of SCG. "We must widen the attention of policy makers and philanthropists to the role and needs of the smaller nonprofits in our cultural and financial economy."
Citing key survey findings, Spiegel noted a trilemma comprising the growing need for arts funding, stagnating financial support, and limited accessibility to available private funding sources. Arts organizations are doing more with less and in constant dollars, funding levels by private and public funders for 2004/2005 are close to or even below 1998 levels, when the nonprofit arts sector was significantly smaller.
"Small organizations are incubators for new work, laboratories for new art forms and channels for the expression of cultural traditions," said Laura Zucker, executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. "They feed and renew the arts community and are vital to its long term health."
The survey also underscores the difference in revenue structures between L.A.'s arts nonprofits and the national norm. Public funding across local, state and federal government levels amounted to only about one percent, compared to the national average of 10 percent. Local funders were the only government funders to report an increase in arts and culture support between 1998 and 2004. However, reduced funding from the California Arts Council resulted in an overall reduction of 21 percent in public funding compared to 1998, and a 35 percent reduction in comparison to 2002.
Equally noteworthy are the actual funding patterns; 78 percent of support went to specific projects and events, as opposed to just 22 percent for general operating costs, endowment buildup and capital campaigns. In addition, only one in five private funders support individual artists, suggesting a nearly exclusive reliance on public funders for support. Also, in comparison to the country's other major cultural capitals, L.A.'s nonprofit arts and cultural sector stands out in terms of its pronounced emphasis on film and video, media and communications, and cultural and ethnic awareness, which account for almost a quarter of the county's nonprofit arts expenditures and approximately 12 percent of grant dollars. The performing arts and museums receive 70 percent of total arts funding.
"Arts funders need to be strategic and forward thinking in their grantmaking," said Claire Peeps, President of Grantmakers in the Arts. "Leaders in the L.A. arts world – practitioners and donors alike – must work together to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. If we are to sustain the rich artistic diversity of our community, greater emphasis will need to be placed on enhancing connections between nonprofit arts organizations and our region's vibrant for-profit arts sector, and on reinventing the nonprofit business model. The future of L.A.'s economy will certainly demand a highly creative workforce. The sustainability of a robust arts environment should be of concern to all our citizens. It is vital to the success of our children, and to the future of L.A."
The 2004/2005 "Arts in the Balance" survey summary may be viewed at www.socalgrantmakers.org or obtained by calling SCG at (213) 680-8866, ext. 0.
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