Friday, July 11th, 2008

Artists in the Midwestern Workforce

The National Endowment for the Arts released a recent study on artists in the workforce. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the census data from 2000 on the number of professional artists by state and metro area.

Now this data is certainly not perfect. Among other things, it only counts people who are employed as artists in eleven specific categories. Part time or non-professionals are not included. Still, for what it is, there is some interesting data. The eleven categories are actors; announcers; architects; fine artists, art directors, and animators; dancers and choreographers; designers; entertainers and performers; musicians and singers; photographers; producers and directors; and writers and authors.

For the metros I track, here are the rankings by total numbers of artists:

Rank City Total Artists
1 Chicago 64,800
2 Detroit 33,215
3 Minneapolis 28,685
4 St. Louis 16,755
5 Kansas City 13,540
6 Cleveland 13,420
7 Cincinnati 11,555
8 Milwaukee 10,975
9 Columbus 10,775
10 Indianapolis 10,075
11 Louisville 6,035

And here are the rankings by artists as a percentage of the workforce.

Rank City Artists % of Workforce
1 Minneapolis 1.71%
2 Chicago 1.57%
3 Detroit 1.53%
4 Kansas City 1.45%
5 Milwaukee 1.40%
6 Cincinnati 1.37%
7 Columbus 1.31%
8 St. Louis 1.26%
9 Cleveland 1.20%
10 Indianapolis 1.19%
11 Louisville 1.15%

Topics: Arts and Culture

20 Responses to “Artists in the Midwestern Workforce”

  1. thundermutt says:

    Isn’t Florida’s Creative Class defined more broadly than this “artist” segment?

  2. The Urbanophile says:

    Yes. Florida has a very expansive view of the creative class.

    However, this study by the National Endowment for the Arts was not based on Florida’s work.

  3. Lord Peter says:

    It is an interesting study, but it is, I think, flawed by some of the strange choices they made in defining artists. Announcers? Nothing against Dave Calabro, who seems to be a fine sportscaster, but the contribution he brings to Indy is not really comparable with the contribution brought by, say, a dancer for Dance Kaleidoscope.

    And I don’t mean to say that his contribution is less or greater than the DK dancer; it is just so completely different that I really don’t see why it was included in the list. Particularly because I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some benefit to having a lot of artists in a city.

  4. CoryW says:

    BUT I thought that Louisville had “the strongest arts community in the region” and was known as an “art town?”

    This has been a point of mine for years. In the midwest, the arts are pretty similar in every city, with the exception of Chicago. We could argue that my stick is bigger than yours, but at the end of the day, this list of teh census data shows how similar the regions cities are in terms of “artists.”

    I am not trying to start a city vs city, rather point out how similar we all are in this regards.

  5. Gary says:

    No what this shows is two things:
    Trying to brand yourself as something is usually nothing but a false promise. That is why I think circle city is just fine for Indy. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Second Louisville won’t believe the numbers anyway. They have dilutated themselves into thinking they are bigger than Boston now. That Louisville is a cool, edgy place, full of artist and one of kind dinning places. Which of course it’s not.

  6. Da ville says:

    gary and your equally nit-witted twin corey,

    you 2 thrive on stats but choose to ignore what is behind the numbers.

    in regards to the arts…and this is not a ‘my city is better than your city thing’ but please tell me which city among Cinci, Louisville, Nashville, Indy, Columbus, St. Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis has a long running focus on American Plays that attracts industry players from all over the world each March/April?

    No one has posted that Louisville is bigger than Boston or bigger than any of the cities listed above. It is in fact smaller than all of them based on population.

    You and your twin nit-wit post crap

  7. CoryW says:

    (he he he)

  8. & DAGGER says:

    Defensive much?

  9. Gary says:

    ah I don’t think Corey is so bad.
    I on the other hand have a ton of short comings.

    If you felt I was putting Louisville down I am sorry. I was merely trying to point out that branding (at least IMO is not that great of an idea), secondly I was trying to make a point (poorly I guess) that all the cities are pretty equal. I am sure the Play Festival in Louisville is great. But all the surronding cities have special and unique things to. Indy has it Fringe Festival, Heatland Film Festival. A full time year round Symphony…one of the few in the country. As well as a thriving Thearte community with several permanent edgy cutting edge companies tha run full schedules. Same could be said for Cincy…not sure if they still have a Fringe Fes or not. Columbus had a Fringe Fes…but I think it failed. But hopefully you get the idea. All the cities have something unique, which, doesn’t really make them unique. They just offer different things.

  10. Gary says:

    But sorry yes, Louisville has promoted it self as being larger than Boston…which of course made them look foolish.

  11. CoryW says:

    Da Ville-

    What Gary just posted is exactly what I was also referring to. As a matter of fact, it is there in my post, word for word.

    ALL midwestern cities, with the exception of Chicago, are fairly equal in terms of the “arts.” For each city, the arts match their size. My mentioning of Louisville is based off of years of reading how Louisville “is an arts town and runs circles around it’s peers.”

  12. Da Ville says:


    I figured out the Boston thing…the commercials….

    Again…your interpretation is flawed. There is no mention that Louisville is bigger than Boston in those commercials. That it is less expensive and perhaps offers the opportunity for more to have an improved quality of life, yes.

    Anyway, this blog would be pretty boring without Nit & Wit!

  13. Wit says:

    Dear Da ville

    My interpertation is not flawed.
    It did not come from a tv commerical. It came from a print ad Louisville ran that stated we "are now the #16th largest city in the country now larger than Boston…etc".

    Since we are asked to "look beyond the stats" when it comes to artist in Louisville…why should we not look beyond the stats concerning the Metro. What Corey refers to is Madison's counties odd refusal to be counted as part of the Indy Metro. If you do add that, which he did and stated so in his post, you come up with approx the number he posted. Which puts Indy and Cincy within about 100k to 150K of each other. Additionly that would widen the gap between both Metros vs. LOU. Since Louisville really doesn't have much sprawl to it, which is arguably a good or bad thing.

    Give tne numbers of O&D passengers the FAA listed for IND and the cost to fly anywhere from Cincy, I am still trying to come to terms why anyone would drive to CVG to fly anywhere. It escapes me why someone (actual price)would drive for the privilege to pay $990.00 to fly to San Francisco from CVG, when you can fly non-stop from Indy form $410.00

    Further more SDF to CVG accounts for almost 25% of the departures from SDF. That number only looks to go up considering Midwest completely pulled the plug on SDF this week.

    Only 7% of departures from IND involve CVG. Given IND has aprox 80more flights a day than SDF. So (tongue in check) I guess there must be a real traffic jam on I-74. Plus you can actually fly to international destinations out of IND..Air Canada to Canada and several seasonal non-stop routes to Mexico, Jamaica. I haven't looked it up, but my gut tells me the people that do fly internationally(my brother flys internationally about every other week and he said he has never departed from CVG) out of IND are going through Detroit or Minneapolis via Northwest and Chicago.


  14. Nit says:

    I do admit to driving to CVG one time for a flight to Amsterdam. This was right when Delta began a daily non-stop to AMS via CVG. They were running a “limited time” internet fare to introduce the market to the flight and I was able to get a ticket for $410.00 vs a flight from IND, via Detroit, for $525.00.

    HOWEVER, with gas prices so high now, even with this difference in price (I know it no longer exists) and the cost of long-term parking, IND would be my starting point.

    As with “Wit,” I just don’t buy that the Indy area goes to CVG very often. One has to remember that CVG is 2 States away, even if it is only 2hrs by car, but that “barrier” is tough for a person in IND to break, while SDF passengers are still looking at an airport within their own State. I have flown out of Ft. Wayne more than CVG. (talk about an easdy airport, they only have 3 gates!)


  15. Da Ville says:


    Yea…the 16th must be the same stats that Indy uses when it says it is the 12th largest. Give your head a shake.

    Draw a circle w/10 mile radius from the downtown of either city. There is not much difference in population. If sprawl is the mark of a great metro…Indy wins

    Last I checked there were 6 flights between SDF-CVG. That would be @6% of daily departures.

    Indy’s credit rating on all that new debt for the new terminal might get downgraded as the cuts are anticipated to decrease IND pax by 9%. Get ready to say bye bye focus city….also get ready to say bye bye Frontier. They have 4 nonstops to DIA…WN to enter market. FR can not possibly make money on 4 nonstops to DIA and most assuredly will not with the arrival of WN.

    Why drive to CVG from IND…hmm…can think of a hundred reasons…but nonstops to London, Paris, Rome are good enough.

    Nit: see the math…

  16. Nit says:

    Indy is not acquiring ANY debt for the new airport. The new Midfield Terminal has been on the books since the 1970’s and the landing/take off fees collected is what financed the entire project. NOT ONE tax dollar was used for this very impressive project.

    I see no reason that if NWA, when it merges with Delta, leaves as a focus City that some other airline would step in and take over those routes. Prior to NWA it was ATA, before that USAir. There is a need for those routes here as IND is one of the Country’s “major” airports (albeit down on the list, but still on the list).

    I agree that a direct, non-stop international flight is great, but if you only have to make one connection and the fare is cheaper, who cares if it is a non-stop int’l flight.

  17. Wit says:

    Da ville…it’s never a good sign to have a negative growth number in your census. Until Lou merged with Jefferson if really wasn’t much larger that Ft. Wayne IN. States Indy 12….Lou 26 the a refence note.

    I guess the 26 cvg daily flights listed on Louisville “international” flight status checker is wrong. Shocked! You might want to correct them on that.

    Southwest is alrady in Indy. So, I don’t even understand that reference. My quess is that if anyone replaces NWA at Indy with focues city status it might be AirTran. Or, the rumored JetBlue arrival. Not even sure NWA will pull focuses city is different than being a hub.
    Frontier is bankrupt. They already cut their non-stop service from Indy to Mexico which Northwest looks to be picking losing 4flights a day from them would not be a shock.

    Let me let you in on a little secret…you helped pay for our new airport…since a large bulk of the money came from the FEDS.

    I personally have not flown through CVG the three times I went to Europe.

  18. Da Ville says:

    Nit: Fitch Ratings has assigned ‘AAA/F1+’ ratings to the Indianapolis Local Public Improvement Bond Bank’s $350,000,000 variable-rate bonds, series 2008C (Indianapolis Airport Authority Project).

    A Bond = Debt. It is paid from future cashflows generated by the airport (pax facility charges, rental car fee’s etc) Those cashflows are expected to be negatively impacted by 9% decline in pax in 2009 as a result of airline cutbacks.

    In a high fuel environment no airline will come in to take over those routes on a pt to pt basis. The focus city approach provides those routes the loads they need to be profitable…no flights. Not many airlines left that need new focus.

  19. Da Ville says:


    The old city limits was not the entire county. The new city boundaries still excludes many of the incorproated cities in Jefferson County. The closest apple to apple comparison is Jefferson to Marion. That is 705K to 865K. Marion to Hamilton (Cinci) is 865K to 823K.
    Wow…Marion bigger than both…however, consider that downtown Lou and downtown Cinci both lie on the state borders vs Indy sitting in the middle of Marion County. If you could calculate the population within a 10 mile radius of each downtown am sure Cinci would be biggest followed by Indy and very close by Louisville.

    Have you ever heard of codeshare? Look at your flight checker result and notice the different numbers…then look at the departure time and gate…3 flights at same time from same gate (codeshare)…reality is 1 flight. That interpretation of flight schedules probably has you assuming that IND is the busiest airport in the world some day.

    The reference to WN is they go IND-DIA in Sept. FR goes bye bye with the arrival of WN. AirTran certainly could increase schedule…but they are more likely to add SDF as destination before that happens (SDF-ATL is heavily traveled route that bbelongs to DL; that route successfully supported DL/EA with 14-16 dd’s)

    JetBlue rumours have been there for CVG/IND/SDF for quite awhile. They are retrenching and not likely to enter any of these 3.

    See reply to Nit on where most of the $ is coming from…that would be you.

    3x’s to Europe…impressive for a food service worker with a backpack!

  20. Da Ville says:

    Nit & Wit:

    Here is passenger growth or decline for some of the region's major airports:

    Year-End 2007
    Cincinnati -2.9%
    Indianapolis +2.4%
    Nashville -0.3%
    Louisville +4.4%

    January-April 2008
    Cincinnati -7.6%
    Indianapolis -0.2%
    Nashville -1.0%
    Louisville +6.3%

    Whether these trends hold up is anyone's guess in the current economy.

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