Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Seattle has nation's most arts-related businesses per capita

SEATTLE — Seattle ranks first in the nation in the number of arts-related businesses per capita. The city is home to 4,065 arts-related businesses that employ 21,025 people, according to Creative Industries 2008: The 50 City Report released today by Americans for the Arts.

"This study confirms what we in Seattle have known for years. Seattle is a creative capital that attracts creative people and industries which add to our reputation for innovation," Mayor Greg Nickels said. "Arts-related businesses contribute significantly to our economy and quality of life."

Among the nation's 50 most populated cities, Seattle ranked in the top 10 in the three other categories measured by the report. Seattle is eighth in the total number of arts businesses. The city ranked third in arts employees per capita (per 1,000 residents) and finished 10th for the total number of arts employees. The study found Seattle's arts-related businesses and arts employment increased 13.6 percent from 2007. The full report with rankings for all 50 cities is available at:

Combining Dun & Bradstreet data and geo-economic analysis, the study tracks and maps the presence of arts-related entities in six creative industries: museums and collections; performing arts; visual arts and photography; film, radio and television; design and publishing; and arts schools and services.

These creative industries range from nonprofit museums, symphonies and theaters to for-profit film, architecture and advertising companies.

"Seattle's creative sector is a cornerstone of economic development and tourism," said Michael Killoren, director of Seattle's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. "We're a national hub of cultural and economic innovation, and our creative edge attracts good companies, skilled workers and visitors."

Arts-centric businesses represent 4.3 percent of all businesses and 2.2 percent of all jobs in the United States, according to the report which underscores the arts as a robust economic growth sector.

  • More than 612,000 arts-related businesses employ 2.98 million people nationwide.
  • Arts-centric businesses grew 12 percent from 2007 compared to the growth of 10.7 percent for all U.S. businesses.
  • Employment growth by arts-centric businesses since 2007 was 11.6 percent, more than four times the rise in total number of U.S. employees of 2.4 percent.

"This study supports our mantra that the arts play a significant role in building and sustaining economically vibrant communities," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, a national nonprofit arts advocacy organization. "It further supports the need for arts education to fuel the creative industries with arts-trained workers and arts consumers."

The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs promotes the value of arts and culture in communities throughout Seattle. The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the city agency.

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