The region's nonprofit cultural organizations grew at almost twice the rate of inflation over the last decade. And cultural growth in the suburbs was even faster, at three times the rate of inflation. These figures are some of the findings that were released today as part of the 2008 Portfolio, a report released today by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
The 2008 Portfolio offers an in-depth look at the scope of the local non-profit cultural sector. Based on confidential and detailed information from 281 local arts and cultural organizations, the report gives a compelling look at a sector that draws 15 million visitors annually and is driven by a workforce of 43,000 staff and volunteers. This report is also, for the first time, able to look at long-term trends in the sector, based on a ten-year analysis of 108 cultural organizations, from 1995 to 2005. The report interprets a wide range of data including revenue, employment, attendance, fundraising and expenses.
“The Greater Philadelphia region has enjoyed a remarkable economic and social resurgence. Arts and culture has been at the forefront of that renaissance,” said Peggy Amsterdam, President, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “With the release of this report, we're finally able to quantify the sector's strong growth and vibrancy over the last decade.”
Several key themes emerged from the study:
Nonprofit cultural organizations have grown dramatically. From 1995 to 2005 individual nonprofit cultural organizations expanded activities at almost twice the rate of inflation. Growth in the suburbs was even more dramatic, with individual nonprofit cultural organizations expanding activities at almost three times the rate of inflation* and increasing employment at twice the rate of regional job growth.
Arts and culture is a significant and highly valued assets for the region. There were over 43,000 paid and volunteer workers supporting the 281 organizations in the report and those groups attract 15 million visitors annually.
Despite clear successes, nonprofit cultural organizations remain at risk. In the most recent years examined in the report, two in five nonprofit cultural organizations operated with a deficit. This was compounded by a dramatic decline in federal support and a 273% increase in utility expenses. Despite these challenges, the sector continues to make the arts accessible, with 43% of all visits free of charge.
“The findings in this report highlight both the incredible value of the arts and compelling evidence of why we need to invest in our regional cultural resources- not just to continue to keep the arts accessible, but as part of a successful plan for long term regional growth,” stated J. William Mills III, regional president of Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey for PNC, the key sponsor of the report.
Other highlights of the report include:
The 2008 Portfolio is based on detailed financial and organizational information reported by 281 cultural organizations to the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project (PACDP), a statewide data collection effort. The figures presented in this report are for the most recent fiscal year available for each organization, in most cases FY06 or FY07.
In addition, the ten-year trend analysis used additional data collected from the Economy League's 1998 report Greater Philadelphia's Competitive Edge, and tracked changes over time for a subset of 108 organizations in this report. The complete list of organizations in the report is available at www.philaculture.org/research/reports/2008-portfolio.
The PACDP is a collaborative project of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, The Heinz Endowments, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and William Penn Foundation. Operated by The Pew Charitable Trusts, PACDP was created to provide access to reliable data about the cultural sector in order to enhance both individual organizational capacity as well as the overall effectiveness of the nonprofit cultural community. Additional information on PACDP is available at www.pacdp.org.
The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is a leadership organization of over 375 nonprofit arts and cultural institutions located primarily in the five counties of southeastern Pennsylvania. Its mission is to lead the effort to increase awareness of, participation in and support for arts and culture in the Greater Philadelphia region.
The 2008 Portfolio was made possible by PNC and the William Penn Foundation.
The publication is available online at www.philaculture.org and printed copies are available upon request.
*Inflation from 1995 to 2005 was 28% (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Organizations grew over that same period by 49%, with suburban organizations growing 76% (2008 Portfolio).
Homepage photo credit: Kimmel Center for Performing Arts by B. Krist for GPTMC.