Mapping the arts: industry concentrations, distribution, and change in the US, 1980–2010

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This paper studies arts industries in all 366 US metropolitan statistical areas between 1980 and 2010. Our analysis provides evidence that the arts are an important component of many regional economies, but also highlights their volatility. After radical growth and diffusion between 1980 and 2000, in the last decade, the arts industries are defined more by shrinkage and reconcentration in fewer metropolitan areas. Further, we find that the vast majority of metros have strengths in particular sets of arts industries. As we discuss in the conclusion, these conditions present challenges and opportunities for urban cultural policy that goes beyond the current focus on the arts as consumption amenities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-375
Number of pages23
JournalThe International Journal of Cultural Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • arts industries
  • creative economy
  • cultural economy
  • cultural policy

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