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States Ranked by Funding for the Arts

Valerie Atkisson | ArtBistro

Money = Value

Do you live in a state that values the arts? If you do, chances are that you may have more artistic and design career opportunities. How can you know? With the data we have collected, you will be able to compare and contrast your state’s spending on the arts with other states. While how much money a state spends on the arts is not an exact way to judge how much it values the arts, you can get a pretty good idea. Remember the saying, “Put your money where your mouth is.”

ArtBistro has gathered and analyzed the state art funding budgets for 2009 and 2010. You may be surprised that in this economy many art budgets are increasing or staying the same. In contrast some states are slashing their arts funding budgets by as much as 81%. What does this mean for artists and designers?


Jonathan Katz, Chief Executive Officer, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies gives his perspective on the 2010 budgets:

“When a state arts agency’s funding is cut, communities throughout the state feel the consequences,” says Jonathan Katz, NASAA CEO. “Cuts in funding diminish the benefits state arts agencies provide to strengthen education outcomes, promote civic vitality and ensure that all citizens have an opportunity to enrich their lives through participating in the arts. State leaders who recognize the exceptional value offered by their state arts agencies as partners in economic recovery work to maintain support for the arts despite financial difficulties because they understand the significant return on investment in terms of jobs, commerce and tax revenues, as well as quality of life.”


As we compared 2009 and 2010 budgets we found the number of states that are narrowing their arts funding budgets is 37 or two-thirds. The number of states that are expanding their art budgets is 14 or one-quarter.


• We have included the territories of Puerto Rico and Washington DC in the categorization of states. Even though they are not states, it is interesting to compare their numbers against the state numbers.

See charts for top spending states in the arts.

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