2008 LA Arts Funding Survey Results Released by Southern California Grantmakers
Arts organizations are faced with both tremendous challenges and potentially devastating consequences. And, even though county and city support have increased admirably in recent years, the share of government dollars flowing into the local arts community remains well below comparable figures for other cultural capitals such as New York, Chicago or San Francisco.
According to Helmut Anheier, Director, UCLA Center for Civil Society, "There exists a recurring trilemma comprising the growing need for arts funding, stagnating financial support and limited accessibility to available private funding sources. The current economic crisis adds new challenges to LA's arts organizations, but it is important to note that some of the underlying trends have been taking place for some time. Indeed, for as long as we have surveyed arts funding patterns and trends in L.A., a central finding has been that public and private funding flows are unlikely to meet the financial needs of LA's arts and culture nonprofit sector. Expressed in constant dollars, funding flows to the arts are about the same as they were in 2000."
A curious anomaly is the fact that public funders are more likely than the private sector to support individual artists; however, the average grant size for individual artists from the private funders is nearly three times the size of the average public grant to individual artists.
"A strong and vibrant arts community is integral to the life and vitality of Los Angeles County," said Wendy Garen, President & Chief Executive Officer, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. "By illuminating the human condition, fostering understanding between diverse cultures and enhancing quality of life, the arts encourage civic involvement and yield important economic benefits that strengthen our region culturally and economically."
The survey also provided a measure of good news for LA's arts community, showing a higher percentage of funders providing much-needed general operating support than in past years. General endowment, capital campaign and technical assistance support also increased. Additionally, arts education emerged as the most popular funding category -- arts education (88%), museums, galleries, visual arts (84%), music (72%) and theater (68%). Both public and private funders were more likely to fund arts education in 2008 than they were in 2000.