Research and Publications

Research efforts help all of us quantify how arts and culture add value to our community. Our findings from RACC-sponsored and other relevant research conducted by our local, state and national partners, appear below.

Economic Impact

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5. Our 2017 study reveals that the nonprofit arts sector grew by 30% since 2012, with $330 million of annual activity, supporting 11,505 full-time jobs and returning more than $27 million in revenue to state and local coffers. A total of 183 nonprofit arts and culture organizations participated in the study, and spent $214.4 million during FY2015 on employee wages, supplies, contract services and acquiring assets within the community. In addition, these organizations leveraged $116 million in event-related spending by their audiences–eating dinner in local restaurants, paying for parking, buying gifts and souvenirs, and paying a babysitter. Attendees from out of town spend even more, including overnight stays in local hotels. The combined spending by both arts organizations and their audiences results in a total economic impact of $330.4 million.

Arts & Economic Prosperity IV. Published in 2012, this report shows that the nonprofit arts and culture industry in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties generates more than $253 million in annual economic activity. The study was conducted in 182 communities nationwide by Americans for the Arts, with local support from RACC and Business for Culture & the Arts (BCA).

Arts & Economic Prosperity III. Published in 2007, this report describes the economic benefits of the local (tri-county region) nonprofit arts community, and proves that the sector is an economic driver that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is a cornerstone of tourism.

Economic Impact Studies of the Non-Profit Arts in Oregon (2001).  More than 400 nonprofit arts organizations around the state of Oregon contributed $100 million in direct spending and more than $262 million in overall impact to the state’s economy in fiscal 2000.

Cultural Participation

Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (2012). The National Endowment for the Arts collects the largest, most detailed research regarding arts participation in the United States.

Public Opinion

Public Opinion Survey (2009).  In May, 2009 the Creative Advocacy Network reported that voters continue to attend arts and culture events, and see them as critical to the Portland region’s quality of life and economy, despite the economy.

Voter Attitudes Toward Arts and Culture (2008). Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates conducted a regional survey to assess the public’s level of engagement in the arts, and the extent to which voters might support proposals that provide stable, ongoing funding for arts and cultural activities.

The Value of Arts & Culture (2005).  Riley Research Associates conducted a scientific survey among likely voters in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties. RACC’s goal in 2005 was to measure top of mind awareness of arts and culture, learn more about the region’s arts and culture consumption patterns, and understand the public’s perceptions about the role of the arts in building communities and supporting education.

Measuring the Health of a Cultural Community

Oregon’s Creative Vitality Index. The Creative Vitality Index measures the health of the creative economy in a city, county, state or other geographic area as it compares to the national index, and creates a benchmark for future measurement. Using readily available, inexpensive data on employment and community participation, the index measures for-profit and nonprofit arts-related activities, as well as participation in the arts, to reflect the vigor of this sector of the economy and culture. Oregon’s 2006 CVI ranks 1.05 against the national average of 1.

Performing Arts Venues Assessment

In June of 2010, RACC published a comprehensive assessment of the region’s performing arts venues and facilities. The study reviews current use and demand for performing arts spaces; identifies gaps in the inventory; and evaluates the potential impact that improved or new facilities might have in fostering a stronger arts community and higher levels of community participation. Representatives from more than 150 different arts organizations participated in the study.

Cultural Planning

Act for Art, published in 2009, is a five-year action plan for arts and culture in the Portland metropolitan region. From 2007 to 2009, more than 1,500 citizens participated in the “Regional Creative Capacity Project,” an assessment of the region’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to culture, creativity and the arts. This task-oriented Action Plan is the culmination of that effort. In this report there is a significant focus on the need to secure $15-$20 million in dedicated public funding for the arts in the region. Public opinion research suggests that it has recently become feasible to ask voters to approve dedicated funding. In all three counties, citizens are making it very clear that they value creativity, art, culture and arts education – and they expect local government to make sure that the arts thrive here. Over the next five years, scores of organizations and individuals will help to achieve our vision, in the Action Plan.

Arts Plan 2000 was the nation’s first regional cultural planning process, initiated in the early 1990s by Bill Bulick, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Arts Commission, RACC’s predecessor. Among the accomplishments since this plan was adopted: MAC became RACC, an autonomous nonprofit arts service organization for the tri-county region; a portion of hotel/motel tax revenues were set aside to support the PCPA and local cultural tourism efforts; and strategies were implemented to increase public and private sector giving.