Arts & Cultural Vitality

STATUS: Significantly enhances human development

How do we know how we’re doing, when it comes to arts & cultural vitality?

1 presence of opportunities for cultural participation, 2 participation in cultural and artistic activities, and 3 support for cultural participation.

Arts and Cultural vitality relates to the vibrancy and strength of the region’s cultural, creative, and artistic institutions. Public participation in both formal (e.g., museums) and less formal (e.g., community festivals) arts and cultural events has direct economic impacts265 and has direct impacts on the iconic nature of a place.266 Metropolitan Los Angeles is, in most respects, the national leader in arts and culture.

The current state of Arts & Culture Vitality:


arts establishments in LA County. TWEET IT.

0.88 arts establishments per 1,000 residents, compared to 0.46 in New York and a national average of 0.64.253


LA has the highest concentration of working artists and arts professionals in the U.S.256


LA employs 14% of the nation’s arts professionals.256


57,000 residents employed in arts occupations.256


The City of Los Angeles has five National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredited schools.255

The city’s “high cost of living, high unemployment rates, and setbacks in the entertainment industry place its artist super-city status at risk.”259

“LA can be passed by in terms of long-term recognition and vitality if it doesn’t consolidate its artistic production quality with lasting infrastructure.”

—Michael Govan, CEO & Director, LACMA

There are 10 artist jobs per 1,000 people in Los Angeles, higher than the national average (6), New York (7), San Francisco (7), Washington, D.C. (5), and Chicago (3).258

The dynamic LA arts scene continues to expand and evolve in unexpected and astonishing ways. But to continue to outpace its competitors, Los Angeles must keep the in-migration pipeline flowing. It must recruit, train, and retain the next generation of creative artists.

What do Arts & Cultural Vitality look like in 2050?

Arts & Cultural Vitality in 2050 is expected to go from “significantly enhancing human development” (green) to “enhancing human development” (light green). The primary reason for this projection is the fact that Los Angeles lacks a coherent arts-nurturing policy at the local or regional level. Likewise, if public support for the arts continues to diminish as it has in recent decades, the region may cede some of its arts and cultural dominance to other locales. Still, arts and cultural communities have thrived in LA in spite of challenges in the past, and we expect that Los Angeles will remain an attractive place for artists and arts professionals in the future.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding arts and cultural vitality? Share it with us in the comments or use the hashtag #LA2050.