ARC’s ‘Cultural Assessment’ Report Details Region’s Arts & Culture Assets

Staff Report

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

The Atlanta Regional Commission issued a report, “Cultural Assessment of the Atlanta Region,” that provides an overview of the arts & culture sector’s economic impact in metro Atlanta and documents the steps local governments have made to support the arts.

The report aims to strengthen creative organizations in metro Atlanta and help cities and counties better integrate arts & culture into their planning efforts. Local governments will be able to use the information to gauge how their support for arts & culture compares to peers across the region and help them set goals for meeting their community’s cultural needs.

Key findings include:

  • Metro Atlanta’s creative industries experienced an annual job growth rate of 1.9% between 2016 and 2021, compared to 1.1% for all industries. The region’s booming film and video industry led the way, with the “actors” category increasing by 15% and “producers and directors” by 10%.

  • The creative industries employ more than 89,000 people in the Atlanta region, about 3% of the total employment base. Creative industries pay an average wage of $64,500, compared to $54,900 across all industries.

  • The creative workforce in metro Atlanta is less diverse than the region as a whole. For example, 67% of creative jobs are held by white employees and 24% by Black workers. The region is about 50% white and 39% Black, and 12% Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census.

  • The Atlanta region is home to 1,705 cultural nonprofit groups that collectively bring in more than $632 million a year in revenue.

  • In metro Atlanta, 17 local governments have developed arts & cultural plans, a significant increase from ARC’s previous Cultural Assessment report, which was released in 2012.

“This report underscores the important role arts & culture plays in the Atlanta region’s economy and quality of life,” said Roshani Thakore, who oversees ARC’s Arts & Culture program. “But it also highlights the opportunity we have to further strengthen arts & culture so that all residents, no matter where they live, have access to a vibrant and inclusive creative community.”

The report includes a detailed list of arts and culture plans, programs, policies, and ordinances completed or being managed by local governments in the 11-county region. The report notes that relatively few cities or counties in metro Atlanta have completed cultural plans, and even fewer have fully staffed departments of cultural affairs.