Arts & culture organizations/institutions
number of arts and cultural nonprofits, organizational types, sector size, financial capacity
The Urban Initiative defines arts and culture organizations/institutions as the landscape of not-for-profit (501(c)3) entities that promote arts, culture, and/or the humanities. These organizations are denoted as such in their IRS 990 filings.
Why do a city’s arts and culture organizations and institutions matter?
Arts and cultural amenities support positive outcomes for cities because they attract tourists (and their dollars), appeal to educated workers and the companies that employ them, have a far-reaching economic impact (encouraging spending by patrons at nearby hotels, restaurants, and other amenities), and can serve as anchors for neighborhood revitalization. And these are just the tangible, quantifiable benefits: other impacts of arts organizations and institutions include their ability to spark creativity, enhance social capital, support mental health, and build a shared sense of pride and identity (Guetzkow 2002). Without a strong, diverse, and capable network of arts and culture organizations and institutions, a community will struggle to reap these benefits.
How do we measure the landscape of arts and culture organizations/institutions?
In order to provide a profile of the arts and culture organizational landscape, the Urban Initiative first measures the number of active nonprofit organizations that have filed a recent IRS form 990 and are categorized by the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) Code ‘A,’ which denotes organizations whose missions relate to arts, culture, and/or the humanities. Second, we measure longevity by looking at the year in which each active organization was founded. Next, we drill down into NTEE sub-codes to measure the diversity of the types of activities conducted by these organizations. Fourth, we measure the size of the sector by looking at total reported revenue for arts organizations in 2012. Finally, we measure the financial capacity of this sector by looking at total assets reported to the IRS in 2012.
How is Fall River doing?
1) Number of arts and cultural nonprofits: 15
According to recent IRS filings by tax-exempt (501(c)3) organizations, there are 18 active nonprofit organizations in Fall River that are categorized by NTEE Code A.
2) Average organizational/institutional age: 27.1 years
The year in which these active arts and cultural organizations was founded ranges from 1954 (Greater Fall River Symphony Society) to 2012 (Marine Museum at Fall River). Three arts nonprofits were founded during each decade from the 1980s to the 2000s.
3) Arts, cultural, and humanities organizations by type
Performing arts organizations are the most prevalent in Fall River (7), followed by museums, multipurpose organizations, and historical societies (2).
4) Total reported revenue: $5,113,165
These seventeen organizations report a total annual revenue of $5.1 million, which breaks down to $55 per capita. Comparatively, per capita revenue for arts organizations in New Bedford is $117; for Massachusetts as a whole, the amount is $50. Only one of these organizations recorded no revenue during the most recent reporting year. Among organizations that did record revenue, amounts range from a high of $2.5 million generated by the USS Massachusetts Memorial Committee (Battleship Cove) to a median of $62,220 (On Stage Theatrical Productions) to a low of $8,577 brought in by the Associacao Cultural Lusitania Inc.
5) Total assets: $13,377,916
These seventeen organizations report assets totaling about $13.3 million. This breaks down to an amount of $146 for every Fall River resident. For comparison, arts organization assets per capita amounts to $367in New Bedford and $155 across Massachusetts. None of the organizations reported no assets in their most recent filings. Among those reporting assets, amounts ranged from a high of $9.1 million (USS Massachusetts Memorial Committee) to a median of $308,419 (Little Theater of Fall River) to a low of $5,063 (Capitol Theater Performing Arts Center Inc).
How is New Bedford doing?
1) Number of arts and cultural nonprofits: 21
According to recent IRS filings by tax-exempt (501(c)3) organizations, there are 21 active nonprofit organizations in New Bedford that are categorized by NTEE Code A.
2) Average organizational/institutional age: 34 years
The year in which these active arts and cultural organizations was founded ranges from 1923 (Washington Social and Musical Club) to 2014 (Polish National 1667). The decade during which this type of organization proliferated in New Bedford was the 1980s, when 6 nonprofits were founded to do work in the area of arts and culture.
3) Arts, cultural, and humanities organizations by type
Just over half of New Bedford’s arts and cultural organizations represent performing arts (8) followed by museums, multipurpose organizations, and historical societies (3).
4) Total reported revenue: $11,027,389
These 21 organizations report a total annual revenue of over $11 million, which breaks down to $117 per capita. Comparatively, per capita revenue for arts organizations in Fall River is $55; for Massachusetts as a whole, the amount is $50. Only one organizations recorded no revenue during the most recent reporting year. Among organizations that did record revenue, amounts provided in the most recent 990 filings range from a high of $5,278,039 generated by the Old Dartmouth Historical Society (New Bedford Whaling Museum) to a median of $38,223 (Gallery X) to a low of $42 brought in by the Polish National 1667. Forty eight percent of revenue-generating arts nonprofits have annual revenues of less than $100,000.
5) Total assets: $34,446,355
These 21 organizations report assets totaling $34.4 million. This breaks down to an amount of $367 for every New Bedford resident. For comparison, arts organization assets per capita amounts to $146 in Fall River and $155 across Massachusetts. Two organizations reported no assets in their most recent filings. Among those reporting assets, amounts for the most recent year available ranged from a high of $28.7 million (Old Dartmouth Historical Society) to a median of $89,711 (New Bedford Art Museum) to a low of $277 (Polish National 1667).
What’s being done to support arts and cultural organizations, and where can I learn more?
Fall River arts/culture organizations are supported by the Fall River Cultural Council (which provides small grant awards).
New Bedford arts/culture organizations are supported by the New Bedford Cultural Council (which provides small grant awards) and AHA! (Art, History, and Architecture), a monthly event that showcases arts organizations and artists throughout downtown New Bedford.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) is a state agency that helps build capacity among arts and culture organizations through funding, partnerships, and technical support. MCC has partnered with MassINC to support creative placemaking, a strategy where communities build upon their arts and cultural assets to drive place-based revitalization. Learn more about that initiative here.
Recognizing the role of arts and culture in strong communities, the National Endowment for the Arts has established Our Town, a grant program that funds creative placemaking. A similar program, ArtPlace America, is funded by the philanthropic sector in order to promote place-based arts.
Data sources and methods
All data was sourced from the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS). Organization-specific data (including number and type and organization-level finances) was found via this link; all calculations are the Urban Initiative’s. Meanwhile, aggregate data related to assets and revenue can be found using the geographic search option of the NCCS database. (Click here for Fall River 2012 data.)