Americans for the Arts announced the National Arts Index at a press conference this morning. The Index is a single-number score measuring the the health and vitality of the arts in the United States. Think of the national consumer confidence score.
The 2008 score of 98.4 is down 4.2 percentage points from 102.6 in 2007, “reflecting losses in charitable giving and declining attendance at larger cultural institutions — even as the number of arts organizations grew,” according to Americans for the Arts.
The Index is a highly distilled annual measure based on 76 indicator categories. It covers a span from 1998 to 2008 and is set to a base score of 100 in 2003.