Which US cities give most (and least) to the arts?

A new study by the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago attempts to assess which cities do most to support their arts.

The diagram says it all:


cultural policy

In order of per capita generosity, the cities rank:

1 San Francisco ($12.95)

2 Cleveland ($12.48)

3 Miami

4 San Diego

5 Columbus, Ohio

6 Denver

7 Houston

8 Portland, Oregon

9 Philadelphia

10 Chicago

11 Boston ($0.21)

12 Phoenix ($0.18)

Read the full report here.



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  • Competitive grant dollars is only one dimension.
    Are grants an attempt to redress an imbalance, in which case the overall “giving to the arts” including patronage from other sources might show the opposite trend?
    And are these figures for Classical music only, or for all genres?

    It is a good question, but more data is required.

    • It’s a given that when talking about “giving” in the United States that this involves charitable gifts that do not include grants. There is a long history of this. Look up the founding of the orchestras in Chicago, New York, Boston, for example.

  • These studies are rather bogus. These so-called “peer regions” are hardly that. Cleveland is far smaller, in fact most of them are far smaller than Chicago. It is particularly telling that it was not a comparison of midwestern cities, which might have said that Minneapolis and St. Paul give much more than Chicago. They certainly have much more going on, per capita. What remains is what is done with the results.

    • The study only compared those 12 cities/metro’s. There’s no telling where MSP would end up if this were a comprehensive study of giving in all of America by cities. If it were, perhaps MSP would have ended up at the top.

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