Arts & Humanities FindingsArts & Humanities Findings

New Engines of Growth: Five Roles for the Arts, Culture and Design

May 1, 2012

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practicces'"The New Engines of Growth" focuses  the arts, culture and design potential role in governors’ policies to create jobs and boost their economies in the short run and transition to an innovation-based economy in the long run.

In particular, arts, culture and design can assist states with economic growth because they can serve the following roles:

  • Provide a fast-growth, dynamic industry cluster;
  • Help mature industries become more competitive;
  •  Provide the critical ingredients for innovative places;
  • Catalyze community revitalization; and Deliver a better-prepared workforce.

The report offers examples and data on the arts as an economic engine and provides a broader context for other dynamic sectors such as cultural heritage tourism, which leverages cultural and historic resources as assets for creating livable and sustainable communities.

U.S. Department of Commerce Releases First Cultural Heritage Visitor Profile Report

August 20, 2011

The U.S. Department of Commerce has released its first Cultural Heritage Visitor (CHV) Profile. The profile showcases select characteristics of overseas visitors who participated in one or more of the following activities: art gallery/museum, concert/play/ musical, cultural heritage sites, ethnic heritage sites, American Indian community, historical places, and national parks.

The profile demonstrates that the fastest growing sector of international travel to the United States are cultural heritage tourists, who are motivated to explore the US through its artistic, heritage and historical offerings. According to this research, the United States welcomed nearly 15.4 million overseas cultural heritage travelers in 2010, outpacing the average growth of all overseas arrivals to the United States (14% and 11%, respectively). Since 2004, the number of travelers participating in CHV activities has increased from 10.6 million (68. 7% of the market) to the current 15.4 million, or 71.2 percent of all overseas visitors. Europe visitors dominate this market, with almost 56 percent of all European travelers stating they participated in cultural heritage activities while visiting the United States, followed by Asia (19%) and South America (13%). The top countries interested in cultural heritage related activities are: Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The profile can be accessed directly from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.

Live from Your Neighborhood: A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals

November 2, 2010

The National Endowment for the Arts recently published “Live from Your Neighborhood: A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals”, which is the first survey of outdoor arts festivals and examines their make-up, demographics and role in community life. A typical response to the purpose of arts festivals was this one: “give the public the gift of art and culture, and promote cultural understanding, appreciation, and acceptance.” The majority of the arts festivals present a diversity of disciplines ranging from performing to visual arts and a diversity of styles from classical to experimental.


 These festivals in effect become catalysts for expanding audiences by giving people a sampling of arts experience they would not seek out on their own. At the same time the survey underscored that these festivals are all about civic engagement as the majority of them depend on a volunteer corps in the hundreds and thousands to make them run. More than two-thirds of arts festivals occur in small to mid-size communities, a majority of them have been in the same town for more than a decade and most of them are free. Accompanying the survey are seven in-depth case studies on a variety of arts festivals at which additional information was gathered from audiences such as “more than two-thirds of audience survey respondents affirmed that the festivals have enriched community life.”

A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index

May 1, 2005

The Heritage Health Index was the first comprehensive survey to assess the condition and preservation needs of U.S. collections. It concluded that immediate action is needed to prevent the loss of 190 million artifacts that are in need of conservation treatment. A Public Trust at Risk has been important policy tool for educating governing boards, local and state decision-makers, and community funders about the preservation of collections. The Heritage Health Index is a project of Heritage Preservation, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.