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Study: Arts Jobs in All Congressional Districts

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Nearly 3 million people -- representing 2.2% of all jobs in the United States -- work in the arts, according to a new survey by Americans for the Arts, released to coincide with Arts Advocacy Day on March 15 in Washington, D.C. The report states that arts companies, organizations, and related businesses now exist in all 435 Congressional districts, lending credence to the position maintained by many arts advocates that the economic power of America's "creative industries" should not be underestimated.

"Creative Industries 2005: The Congressional Report" is a follow-up to a similar study conducted by the nonprofit organization in 2004. Compared to last year's figures, the total number of arts-industry jobs fell slightly -- from 2.99 million to 2.97 million. Yet the aggregate number of arts-related businesses grew dramatically, rising to over 578,000 from 548,000. The report also discloses that 49 Congressional districts each have at least 10,000 "arts-centric employees" working within them, with more than half of all Congressional districts containing at least 5,200 arts-related workers.

By combining data from Dun & Bradstreet with what Americans for the Arts calls "geo-economic analysis," the report tracks and maps the presence of arts-related entities in six creative industries: performing arts; museums and collections; visual arts and photography; film, radio, and TV; design and publishing; and arts schools and services. Both commercial and nonprofit companies and organizations were included in the tally.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, New York City and California dominate the top ten districts with the greatest amount of arts-centric employment.

New York's 14th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, leads the country, supporting 119,320 arts employees in 8,033 arts-related businesses (of which 14,377 employees and 1,137 businesses are performing arts–related). Activity in the film/radio/TV sector is even more impressive, with 29,016 jobs and 1,230 businesses.

Taking second place is New York's 8th District, which is represented by another Democrat, Rep. Jerrold Nadler. It supports a total of 81,969 arts employees and includes the area that encompasses Times Square. The study found 1,604 performing arts–related businesses supporting 18,647 employees in the district, with an additional 1,573 businesses supporting 13,778 employees in the film/radio/TV sector.

Five Congressional districts in California -- the 30th (in third place with 64,512 arts jobs), the 29th (fifth place; 37,831 jobs), the 28th (sixth place; 33,816 jobs), the 8th (eighth place; 28,047 jobs), and the 33rd (ninth place; 22,499 jobs) -- dominate the remainder of the top ten; all are represented by Democrats. Minority-party members also represent Illinois' 7th district (fourth place; 44,709 Chicago-area jobs), Pennsylvania's 2nd district (seventh place; 31,304 Philadelphia-area jobs), and Georgia's 5th district (tenth place; 21,798 Atlanta-area jobs).

In a written statement, Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said the study's purpose was to strengthen the bare-knuckle fiscal case for supporting the arts in the public and private sectors. "The arts have become an economic and employment powerhouse throughout the nation," he said. "This study shows, in addition to the intrinsic value of the arts, that arts-centric businesses contribute significantly to local economies in all U.S. Congressional districts."

Joining Lynch for Arts Advocacy Day, which included one-on-one visits with over 200 members of Congress from both parties, were such well-known actors as Joe Pantoliano ("The Sopranos"), Giancarlo Esposito ("Homicide"), George Wendt ("Cheers"), Tim Blake Nelson ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?"), Harry Hamlin ("L.A. Law"), Cady Huffman ("The Producers"), and Kerry Washington ("Ray").

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