In generosity to the arts, Twin Cities scores highest in the nation

It’s not uncommon for Minnesotans to tout the state’s strong support for the arts.

It’s rare, however, that someone backs it up with more than anecdotal proof.

A recent report by Accenture, the global management and technology consulting company, found that 47 percent of people in the Twin Cities give to arts organizations, ranking the region the top donor among the 13 largest arts communities in the nation. That places Minneapolis-St. Paul over Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

“We joke about the Land of 10,000 nonprofits, but we know that we have a very strong donor environment in the Twin Cities and this survey proves it,” said David Wilson, senior managing director of Minneapolis-based Accenture. “People in the Twin Cities really support their arts organizations.”

Wilson said the survey initially aimed to find ways to engage younger people in the arts. But in the process he found out some other nuggets of information — largely that when it comes to engagement with the arts, the Twin Cities scored on a par with New York City and the nation’s capital.

The average percentage of giving for all the metro areas was 35 percent. In Denver just 11 percent of respondents said they gave money to an arts organization outside of the cost of tickets/membership.

“I was surprised to see we were at the top, and [people in New York and Washington, D.C.] were surprised that Minneapolis was a peer city to them,” Wilson said.

The study also found that arts organizations on the whole need to use technology to better connect with millennials, and that audiences want more pricing options to choose from when buying tickets.

The Accenture study interviewed 500 people across the 13 metro areas. That’s a small sample size, averaging 35 to 50 people per market. According to the Accenture researcher, response trends tend to repeat after 30 respondents.