Arts & Culture » Visual Art

Funding the arts


Americans for the Arts, a private, nonprofit organization, tracks the annual amount of money U.S. cities spend on the arts. The total amount is not limited just to grants, but includes the salaries of city officials employed by city arts agencies, annual maintenance and upkeep of arts facilities, etc.

Randy Cohen, vice president of research & information, says Detroit’s arts spending ranks 33rd among the top 50 largest cities. Detroit is closely trailed by cities significantly smaller in size, such as Wichita, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; Fresno, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla.

For 2003, the City of Detroit allocated $802,000 to the city’s cultural affairs department.

This pales in comparison to cities such as Phoenix, Ariz. ($2 million), Indianapolis ($2.6 million), St. Louis ($4.1 million); and Charlotte, N.C. ($5.4 million).

New York City tops them all with $121.9 million dollars in city funds allocated to the department of cultural affairs. San Francisco doles out $7.1 million, but a city-sponsored agency also takes in $15 million a year from the city’s hotel tax and directs it to arts organizations: The rationale is that San Francisco’s arts and cultural scene attracts tourists.


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Sarah Klein is a Metro Times staff writer. E-mail her at

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