Monograph: Local Arts Agency Facts 1998

Author: Cohen, Randy

Publication Year: 1998

Media Type: Report


This issue of the Monograph highlights findings from the Local Arts Agency Facts Survey competed in 1998.


The findings about LAAs in this report remain consistent with past reports about LAAs and continue to reflect many of our empirical observations about the field. Generally, LAAs in larger communities tend to be public agencies (part of the city or county government); their largest source of revenue is from local government and largest expenditure is for grantmaking to local cultural institutions. In smaller communities an LAA is likely to be private, receive most of its revenue from earned income and its largest expenditure is for producing cultural events and programs.

LAAs projected a 7.1 percent increase in their 1997 budget - with 70 percent of the responding LAAs expecting an increase in budget. Since 1989, an average of two-thirds of the nation's LAAs have reported increases in their annual budget. Nationally, LAAs have averaged budget increases five of the past six years.

Arts and Community Development:
LAAs continue to expand the role of the arts in their communities by using the arts to address social, educational and economic development issues. Local elected leaders are increasingly looking to their LAAs as a partner in programs ranging from tourism to youth-at-risk. In fact, since 1994 the percentage of LAAs using the arts to address community development issues has increased from 61 percent to 88 percent.

Nearly all LAAs (96 percent) collaborate with community organizations or local government agencies to develop programs and initiatives that increase community livability; economic development departments to develop cultural districts, chambers of commerce to attract new businesses, parks and recreation departments to create after school programs, convention and visitor bureaus to increase cultural tourism and police departments to prevent crime. Four LAAs in five report that they have at least three collaborations with other local organizations or agencies (80 percent).

Arts in Education (AIE): 
Eighty-nine percent of LAAs increase the quality of education by supporting artists in the schools, designing AIE curricula and/or advocating for arts in education. Youth who participate in AIE programs demonstrate higher standardized test scores, higher attendance rates and fewer student discipline programs. Studies show that arts participation while young results in a greater likelihood of arts participation as an adult.

Community Cultural Planning:
Fully one third of LAAs have a community cultural plan (35 percent). The findings suggest that LAA budgets and local government revenue increase at a higher rate in LAAs with a cultural plan than in those without.

More than 62 percent of LAAs make grants to artists or arts organizations in their community (59 percent to arts organizations and 37 percent to individuals). Grants are in the form of general operating support or special projects. These grants provide stability to the arts community and make its diverse art forms more accessible to the public.

LAAs provide services and information to both the arts community (technical assistance, marketing, group insurance) and the general public (arts programming schedules, volunteer opportunities). These services facilitate the operation and responsible growth of the arts industry and promote greater community participation in the arts. (p. 2-3)

Americans for the Arts’ Monograph series featured in-depth issue papers on topics that were of the greatest interest to our members and arts professionals at the time. They often still serve as excellent resources for best practices and historic reference for today’s issues. Monographs were produced from 1993–2010. Monographs from 2001-2010 are available for downloadable in PDF format our online store at a nominal fee for nonmembers but free to members. All monographs from 1993-2000 are available for free download via the National Arts Administration and Policy Publications Database.

Arts & Intersections:

Categories: Partnerships, Organizational Planning, Grantmaking, Governance, Financial Management, Cultural Planning, Advocacy


Series Title: Americans for the Arts Monograph

Edition: Volume 2, Number 3



Pages: 36

Resources: Document


Name: Americans for the Arts

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