Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) commissioned arts philanthropy researcher Steven Lawrence to analyze data and trends in arts funding in the US over the last few decades.

Lawrence reports his findings along a timeline dating back to the 1980s.

The report emphasizes the evolution of arts funding, not of the arts sector per se, and is therefore attentive to the various categories of funders and the narrative threads that can be traced within and across these categories over time.

  • While the nominal value of support for arts and culture in the United States remains impressive, relative to changes in support for other priorities, the arts have unquestionably lost ground.
  • While the NEA has consistently remained the largest single funder of the arts in the US over the period studied, these funds are always subject to political winds.
  • Despite the proliferation in nonprofit arts groups—and especially in smaller, community-based organizations, “the distribution of arts and culture funding in 2014 continued to look remarkably similar to the early 1980s: museums and the performing arts accounted for a majority of grant dollars.”
  • The arts sector is losing ground in terms of overall nonprofit revenue.
  • Since 2000, total private contributions to the arts are up by 10 percent, with individual donors leading the way.
  • The arts funding sector itself continues to evolve, by responding to and anticipating changes in the external environment.

Read the full article on arts revenue trends by Eileen Cunniffe at Nonprofit Quarterly