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National Arts Index shows arts hit by economy, with some high notes

Americans for the Arts released its second annual National Arts Index scores this week. The National Arts Index is an annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the U.S. The findings demonstrate that the arts follow the nation’s business cycle, with the Index score for 2009 at 97.7, down 3.6 percentage points from 101.3 in 2008. The 2009 Index score is the lowest Index score in the 12 years measured by the Index.

The economy has presented a number of challenges for the arts, but the Index does hit some high notes. Americans are seeking more personal engagement in the arts and volunteerism is growing. The number of Americans who participated in an artistic activity increased 5 percent between 2005 and 2009, while volunteerism also jumped 11.6 percent. And the number of artists in the workforce has also increased 17 percent from 1996 to 2009 (1.9 to 2.2 million).  

For more information and to download the report, go here.