Study finds Twin Cities’ arts economy ranks sixth in nation

According to a new report that examines arts jobs, consumer spending and revenue of arts organizations, Minneapolis’ arts economy is close to five times the national average.

The report, commissioned by the City of Minneapolis, uses data compiled by Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), to examine aspects of the local creative economy that have never been measured before. It calls this data collection the “Creative Vitality Index” or CVI.

Author Guldun Kayim says many studies only track arts institutions, and ignore the independent artists who work in multiple fields.

“This report looks at creative jobs,” explained Kayim. “Not just fine arts, but from the broader perspective of highly creative occupations – design, architecture, broadcast – things people don’t normally measure as an arts career, but are highly creative.”

The data measures the Minneapolis metro area down to the ZIP code level of detail.

The report finds that the creative sector injects approximately $700 million into the economy in a single year. $430 million of that is in retail sales: tickets to shows, the purchase of artwork, etc.

Kayim says that’s 70% of the size of Minneapolis sports sector revenues.

“While we didn’t match sports, the fact that we came this close without the equivalent in stadiums I think is pretty damn good,” said Kayim. “We don’t have the facilities that sports organizations do, but we are still managing to have a huge impact.”

To put it in perspective, Target Field seats close to 40,000 people. The Guthrie Theater seats 2,000.

Gulgun Kayim says the findings reveal some interesting trends. Of the $430 million in retail revenue, 49% came from gallery sales.

“We don’t have a gallery scene of great significance,” said Kerr. “I mean we have some great galleries, but not with a large density. What we do have is a great network of artist studios who host events like Art-A-Whirl and other art crawls. So it appears these smaller venues, all combined, are having a big impact.”

In the coming weeks, City of Minneapolis staffers will present the more detailed findings of the report to stakeholders.

Ahead of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area are Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston.