Investigating Inequitable Arts Funding and Collective Impact in the Creative Economy


  • Emma Chen McLean High School



arts and culture, arts funding, creative economy, collective impact


As the largest federal agency for the arts, the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) takes a distinct role in serving underrepresented cultural communities. After regulatory changes in the 1990s however, well-established arts institutions turned to individual philanthropists and continued to thrive, while smaller organizations confronted crippling budget cuts. This paper discusses how the lack of public funding and support for American arts and culture has depleted cultural institutions and historical centers – especially small, community-based art groups – of critical resources to preserve arts culture This paper analyzes economic trends and data across the creative economy that reveal how disproportionate funding between arts organizations subsequently spiraled into an industry-wide crisis. This paper also reviews the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on arts and culture growth. Finally, this paper synthesizes the voices of professional artists to outline the decline of many traditional art forms and how collective impact has the potential to shape the future of arts and culture.


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