Minneapolis Develops New Index to Measure Creative Vitality of City

The Minneapolis Creative Index 2013 is filled with graphics, like this one on nonprofit art organizations.

The Minneapolis Creative Index 2013 visually showcases the strength of the local arts community.

The Arts, Culture and Creative Economy program for the City of Minneapolis has released a new study using the Creative Vitality Index (CVI), commissioned by the city and developed by Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF). CVI is designed to capture the impact of the creative community in Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and to measure annual changes in the economic health of highly creative industries.

This system of measurement will provide a new resource for policymakers, arts professionals, artists and community arts advocates. Grantmakers may utilize the index to provide a more in-depth analysis of Minneapolis’ creative sector, including measuring the city’s creative employment by ZIP code. This will allow grantmakers to focus funding on the specific needs of the creative community in their target geographic areas.

According to the Minneapolis Creative Index 2013 report, the economic impact of the Minneapolis creative community on the economy is large, accounting for 1% of the overall retail economy and posting performing arts revenues almost ten times the national average.

On average, the MSA creative sector injects $700 million into the Minnesota economy each year. By comparison, this is approximately 70% of Minneapolis’ sports sector revenue without the benefit of publicly subsidized stadiums. Arts patrons spend on average an additional $20.40 per person on event-related purchases like parking and food.

The creative sector has also been crucial to Minneapolis’ job growth, employing nearly 20,000 residents, or about 5% of all jobs in the city. Creative employment in the MSA represents 74% of Minnesota’s creative occupations, the sixth highest CVI score in the country.

The report also detailed the effects of the creative sector on Minneapolis’ nonprofit community and the greater creative arts ecosystem. Despite recent losses in overall nonprofit revenue, contributions to nonprofit arts organizations increased 10% over the two year period ending in 2011. Increased revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment also fueled growth in the nonprofit arts community.  The amendment specified that 19.75% of $7.5 billion dollars to be generated statewide over the next 25 years will go to fund arts and cultural activities.

Although the new CVI measurement system has proven to be a valuable tool for measuring the economic benefits of art in Minneapolis, the system has some limitations. It relies is heavily on business transactions and employment, and does not capture non-commerce related impacts like community cohesion and safety, feeling of well being, expressions of identity or rates of attendance. Also not captured in the measurement are nonprofit organizations with annual budgets under $25,000 or demographic traits like race, age or gender. As looking for arts funding has become more competitive, proving the impact of the arts remains a difficult but crucial part of arts advocacy.

Minneapolis plans on releasing core CVI data annually, with a full report to be published bi-annually.

-Kaitlin Ostlie, MCF administrative assistant

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