Sponsored by George Fox University
Home Back Issues March 2012 Did the recession kill the arts?

Did the recession kill the arts?

| Print |  Email
Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012

BY BRANDON SAWYER

Click on any graph to view larger.
0312_Data_Theater
0312_Data_Dance
0312_Data_FilmSoundVideo
0312_Data_IndependentCreatives
0312_Data_PerfomingArts
0312_Data_Music
0312_Data_Promoters
0312_Data_Museums
0312_Data_ArtsAppreciation_LARGE
Out of the ashes of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, Oregon’s arts-related economy seems to have fared better than the private sector as a whole. Arts employment has by no means regained its 2008 peak, but many creative sectors are thriving.

The arts are a nebulous universe with many self-employed, part-time and seasonal workers. To get a handle on it, Nick Beleiciks, state employment economist at the Oregon Employment Department, gathered data for those covered by unemployment insurance, including the performing arts (theater, dance and musical groups), independent writers and performers, promoters, museums and motion pictures (production, distribution and theaters).

These jobs grew 3.6% in 2008, the first full year of the recession, but dropped 9.2% in 2009. But in 2010, when total employment continued to slide, arts jobs grew 2% and have kept rising. In the first six months of 2011, they increased 1.5% over the same period in 2010.

“Between 2007 and 2010 the industry lost 4% employment,” says Beleiciks. “That compares to the overall loss of 9.5% of private jobs. In terms of employment the arts-related industry did do a little better than overall industry.”

That’s good news for the growing community of artists moving to Oregon. The National Endowment for the Arts reports that in 1990 artists represented just 1.4% of Oregon’s labor force, the same as the U.S. overall. In 2000, that grew to 1.6% and by 2005-2009 artists represented 1.7% of the state’s workforce — 20% greater than nationwide. Oregon tied with Vermont for third place, behind only New York and California.

Oregon’s enthusiasm for local talent, along with cultural tourism from outside the state, has helped boost arts employment and revenue and preserve the arts through the economic downturn.

“Arts organizations in Oregon overall rely more heavily on earned income than arts organizations in other places,” says Christine D’Arcy, executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust. Greater reliance on earned income has proven a boon in times when charitable contributions and grants have dropped.

The Oregon Arts Commission produces a Creative Vitality Index each year, 60% of which is based on “arts participation” and the remaining 40% on arts-related employment. In 2010, the index rose 0.03 to 1.02 for Oregon, compared to the national baseline of 1.0. Multnomah and Washington counties’ index was much higher at 1.58.

Not only do Oregonians fervently patronize the arts, says D’Arcy, but Oregon draws cultural tourists, especially to Portland. “When you combine the quality of the arts and cultural programming with a very livable city, craft beer and wine, and a city that’s easy to get around in, people want to come here and experience culture.”

That vibe has helped Portland draw film and TV productions. Vince Porter, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television, has managed state incentives to draw and keep projects that pack a big economic impact. He’s helped land three TV shows in Portland. “With Leverage, Portlandia and Grimm,” he says, “all of them have been in their own world reasonably successful.”

He estimates that out-of-state film and video production spent more than $110 million in Oregon last year. “When your previous record was $62 million, it’s a pretty big increase, so of course we’re going to try to keep it at that level but… we have to compete with so many other places.”

Outside of film, Porter sees promise in the state’s animation studios, such as Laika in Hillsboro and Bent Image Lab in Portland.

“I don’t know if there’s another city in the country that has the amount of stop-motion animation talent as the Portland metro area. Combining that with some of the tech talent and design talent that are here, there’s some new cool things happening.”

Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival is another shining star in the arts universe with roughly 600 employees. In 2010, the nonprofit’s 75th season, it had an economic impact of $179.6 million, a 3% increase over 2009. Program revenue grew 8% to $19.3 million as attendance peaked to 414,783. Even operating contributed income grew 6% to $6.9 milion.

“Seventy-five to 78% of our income is earned income so we depend on that,” says Amy Richard, media and communications manager.

The Eugene Symphony also has enjoyed unflagging community support. About 50% of its income is from tickets, according to Maylian Pak, interim executive director. Most orchestras get about 40% of income from tickets, she says.

Support has been so solid that the symphony has balanced its budget for 19 consecutive seasons.

“I believe the individuals who support the arts are so passionate about what we do that they make it a priority,” Pak says.

Individuals account for about 80% of most arts organization’s contributed income, business contributions are usually less than 10%, and the rest comes from foundations and government, according to Virginia Willard, the recently retired executive director for Business for Culture and the Arts in Portland.

These funding sources have less to contribute than before the recession, and arts organizations in Oregon and nationwide are struggling despite strong patronage.

Willard stresses the value of the arts as part of a strong economy. “It is an industry that creates jobs,” she says. “They are not jobs that can be exported.”

Brandon Sawyer is research editor for Oregon Business. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 

More Articles

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...

Risks & rewards of owning triple net investments

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 24, 2014
NNNinvestmentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.


Read more...

OB Video: Building trade ties with the EU

News
Monday, June 16, 2014
BritEmbCampionBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

The Oregon economy could get a boost from a new trade agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union.


Read more...

The business of running a food cart

News
Thursday, June 05, 2014
OBM1BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

What does it take to launch and run one of these mobile food businesses?  


Read more...

The global challenge

News
Friday, June 27, 2014
062714 thumb globalmarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER

Over the last several months we have seen a wave of cross-border acquisitions, primarily U.S.-based companies looking to purchase non-U.S.-based companies. There are a few reasons for this, but the main culprit is the U.S. corporate tax system. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.


Read more...

Blips and trends in the housing market

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014
062614 thumb realestateBY ERIC FRUTS | OB BLOGGER

Last year, the housing market in Oregon—and the U.S. as a whole—was blasting off. The Case-Shiller index of home prices ended the year 13% higher than at the beginning of the year. But, was last year a blip, or a trend?


Read more...

13 West Coast seafood species now 'sustainable'

News
Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Fishing OrBiz Fishing 0357 ADOBErgbCiting the transition to catch shares management as a key to rebuilding stocks and reducing bycatch, 13 species caught by the West Coast trawl fishery today earned designation from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as sustainable.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS