Not sure what a local arts agency is, or struggle to help others understand the work of an LAA? Visit our LAAs 101 page for resources or our What is a Local Arts Agency overview.

The Local Arts Agency Census paints the portrait of the programs, budgets, and operations of the LAA field as of 2015.  Below, please find our 25 Highlights Report along with other resources. We will be releasing more topic-based one-page reports throughout the year. The schedule of topics below will help guide you on when to expect future reports.

25 Highlights from the Local Arts Agency Census

While LAAs across the country share the same goals and many tactics to achieve them, the LAA Census sheds light on the intricacies of the field. This report, 25 Highlights from the Local Arts Agency Census, offers a broad overview of the findings and paints the portrait of the programs, budgets, and operations of the LAA field as of 2015.

One Pagers: Topic Overviews from the Census

Local Arts Agencies in America: 2016
Americans are more engaged in the arts now than ever. The reason? The remarkable growth and impact of our nation’s 4,500 local arts agencies—nonprofit organizations and municipal agencies ensuring the arts have a vital presence in communities.

Partnerships & Collaborations
Local arts agencies (LAAs) are community connectors. Ninety-two percent maintain at least one partnership with a community agency or organization, and 76 percent have three or more ongoing collaborations.

Advocacy & Strategic Messaging
Local arts agencies (LAAs) champion the arts at the local level.  Ninety-five percent make the case for arts funding and arts policies to private and public sector leaders and donors.

imageDiversity & Equity
Local arts agencies (LAAs) are community unifiers. They use the arts to build bridges between cultures and connect communities regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or economic standing. Sixty-one percent of LAAs increase the diversity of the arts organizations and individuals they serve through their programs, funding, and partnerships.

Public Art
Local arts agencies (LAAs) bring the arts to the people. Forty-five percent of LAAs administer a public art program, presenting free and accessible artworks to the community.

Arts Programming
Ninety-one percent of local arts agencies (LAAs) connect members of their communities to arts and cultural experiences—either through presenting their own programs (78 percent) and/or by investing in arts and culture organizations that present locally (50 percent).

Local arts agencies (LAAs) create environments in which the arts can thrive. Virtually 100 percent of LAAs provide services to other arts organizations, the community, and artists that range from marketing, audience development, and visibility to cultural facility management, volunteer recruitment, and online arts calendars.

Arts & Education
Local arts agencies (LAAs) champion arts education through their grants, programs, and advocacy efforts. Most LAAs (89 percent) are involved in arts education programs either in school or with out-of-school activities.

Community Development
Local arts agencies (LAAs) build healthier communities through the arts. Fifty-seven percent use the arts to address community development issues ranging from helping underserved youth and the homeless population to investing in a community’s creative economy and its cultural districts.

Local arts agencies (LAAs) connect the arts community and the business community. Sixty-nine percent of LAAs facilitate partnerships between arts organizations and businesses.

Fifty-three percent of local arts agencies (LAAs) provide financial support to arts organizations and/or individual artists in the form of grants and contracts. Specifically, 49 percent fund nonprofit arts organizations and 35 percent fund individual artists. Thirty percent support both arts organizations and artists.


About the Census Survey Process

The survey process was designed by a task force of local arts agency, research, and policy leaders to ensure relevance and rigor. The Census was composed of both a long-form survey and a short-form survey that were sent to the 4,377 LAAs in the United States known to Americans for the Arts. A total of 1,127 LAAs responded (641 submitted the long-form; 486 participated via the short-form), providing invaluable details about their budgets, programs, partnerships, grantmaking, diversity, and staffing. While the overall response rate was 26 percent, the rate of response from large- and mid-sized LAAs was very high, while small and volunteer-driven LAAs were under-represented in the survey respondents.


The Local Arts Agency Census is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.