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Research Shows Inequity in Arts Funding is On the Rise

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Jul 27, 2017

A recent study from Helicon Collaborative shows that arts funding still flows disproportionately to large, white cultural institutions, with 58% of funds going to 2% of large-budget organizations. The findings show that despite an increased awareness in the disparities in funding—i.e. leaders in the funding community are more vocal than ever regarding issues of equity and diversity—the distribution in funding is actually becoming more concentrated.

According to the report, the research shows that “philanthropic resources still disproportionately flow to the largest cultural institutions, and that those institutions do not represent the cultural or demographic diversity of our country. Leadership of philanthropic and large cultural institutions is overwhelmingly white. Meanwhile, cultural organizations whose primary artistic mission is to serve communities of color or low-income communities face distinctive challenges as a result of their context and lack of capitalization."

An exception to the pattern is in San Francisco, where two decades of sustained effort have produced “funding distribution patterns that more closely reflect the city’s demographic profile and the diversity of the local cultural sector.”

The Helicon report goes on to detail who is making systemic funding decisions and what can be done to reverse the trend.

Learn more and read the report here.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.