Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce the release of the 2018 Profile of Local Arts Agencies, its latest research on the local arts agency field. The Profile is an annual survey designed to collect a core set of local arts agency (LAA) indicators, such as budget trends, sources of revenues, partnerships, community impact programs, policies, and programs. The annual tracking of these data are supplemented with two rotating modules that enable a deeper understanding of specific aspects of LAA programs and operations. This year’s two modules focus on (1) equitable grantmaking and financial support of the arts, and (2) salaries and compensation of LAA staff. Taken together, these data provide a snapshot in time of LAAs as well as provide long term trend data.

The nation’s 4,500 local arts agencies promote, support, and develop the arts at the local level, ensuring a vital presence to the communities that they serve. It is the importance of this work in advancing the arts that makes tracking LAA health, operations, and community impact a matter of pressing concern. The findings in the Profiles report are based upon the data provided by a total of 537 responding LAAs that completed and submitted the entire survey instrument. All responses were analyzed in aggregate. In addition, in most cases the responses are stratified in the report by the following characteristics/cohort groups:

  • Legal status of the LAA (government/public vs. nonprofit/private)
  • Size of the LAA’s operating budget (in expenditures)
  • Population of the LAA’s primary service area (i.e., city, county, region)

There are multiple ways to access the findings from the Profile research. Full reports have been written for the core survey as well as for each of the two modules. For those who want to see how their LAA stacks up statistically against similar LAAs from across the country, they should use the new online and interactive Local Arts Agencies Dashboard. Users can search, sort, and compare the programs, services, and policies of the 537 LAAs that completed the 2018 Profile of Local Arts Agencies. Graphs can be customized based on characteristics like budget, service area population, legal status, or state. The full suite of materials including detailed reports, infographics, and data tables are available on the Americans for the Arts website at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/LAAProfile.