2008 LA Arts Funding Survey Results Released by Southern California Grantmakers
LOS ANGELES, April 3, 2009 — "Arts in the Balance," summarizing the fifth and concluding biennial survey of public and private arts funding in Los Angeles County, was released today by Southern California Grantmakers (SCG). SCG conducted the 2007/2008 survey in partnership with the UCLA Center for Civil Society.
This year's survey examined the extent to which arts funding sources and patterns have slumped -- or, in many cases stayed much the same -- over the past 10 years. The survey also provides insights into the current arts and culture funding climate within the context of trends that stand to impact the arts funding landscape in the years ahead.
There are just over 1,000 arts and culture nonprofits in Los Angeles County, with approximately $1.2 billion in revenue. As a group, their revenue has increased by 24 percent since 1998. However, much of those increases occurred during the early survey periods. In contrast, revenue for the nonprofit sector as a whole increased by 37 percent. At the same time, the slowdown in LA's arts and culture nonprofit sector that began between 2004 and 2006 has continued, resulting in declines in revenue -- despite revenue growth for the nonprofit sector overall -- even as expenditures continued to increase.
"Our region's nonprofit arts and cultural organizations are essential to a vibrant public sphere, freedom of expression and civic participation throughout LA's increasingly diverse communities," said Sushma Raman, President of Southern California Grantmakers (SCG). "While data for this most recent survey was gathered prior to the financial meltdown that hit the country in fall of 2008, funders who responded to the survey were already expressing increased pessimism about their financial situation, as well as their capacity for future funding of the arts. At the same time creative minds have a way of coming together with passion, inspiration and ingenuity. These qualities can be put to work by funders and the arts community alike to reinvigorate advocacy, forge new partnerships, develop innovative new organizational models and create networks along economies of scale, leading to increased opportunities for meeting the challenges that lie ahead."