Philadelphia Region's Cultural Activity Rose During Recession, but Arts Still Hard Hit by Economy

  • September 19, 2011

cultural-alliance-Portfolio-Cover-2012-big.jpgIndividuals were the heroes of the Philadelphia region's cultural sector during the recession. In an analysis of cultural activity from FY 2007 to FY 2009, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance documented a 20 percent increase in individual giving and a 5 percent increase in attendance at area cultural nonprofits. Overall, individuals pumped $406 million into the struggling cultural nonprofits sector in FY 2009, an increase of $48 million over FY07.

These findings come from the “2011 Portfolio”, the most recent report by the Cultural Alliance. The “2011 Portfolio” provides information on the health, breadth, and diversity of the region's cultural sector, including the first comprehensive look at the effects of the recession on Southeastern Pennsylvania's nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. The report is based on detailed financial and organizational information reported by 405 cultural organizations to the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project (CDP), a statewide data collection effort operated by Pew. 

Individuals' investments in the sector helped mitigate the damage done by the recession including the large drops in the values of investment portfolios, belt-tightening on the part of corporate and foundation donors and cuts to government funding. Those declines outweighed individuals' efforts and pushed more of the area's nonprofit arts organizations into the red. Excluding investment losses, revenues fell 12 percent overall for arts and cultural organizations.

Read more about the “2011 Portfolio” on the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance's Web site.