The National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) at SMU released a new report on December 13, 2017, detailing the financial health of arts organizations in the United States.
The new report examines organizational bottom lines using data collected from over 4,800 organizations between 2013 and 2016. Overall, the report shows that it has become increasingly difficult for arts and cultural organizations to break even, a trend that is particularly alarming given the nation’s current period of economic growth.
“As we all know, the arts are heavily labor intensive and salaries naturally rise over time, but the technology-driven productivity increases that drive efficiencies in many industries just don’t apply, making the cost of doing business in the arts a challenge—a phenomenon recognized for decades as ‘Baumol’s cost disease,’” said Zannie Voss, NCAR director. “As with all NCAR’s work, this report is designed to help organizations and the individuals and institutions that support them better understand the state of the field, rethink traditional operating models, and spark new strategies that advance the financial sustainability of the field.”