By Howard Pousner
New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle … Many other places pop to mind before Atlanta when one thinks of the country’s artiest cities.
But the city of Atlanta has the highest number of arts-related businesses per capita among the 100 largest cities in the U.S., according to a recent report by Creative Industries, a national arts research project by Americans for the Arts. The report also ranks Atlanta as having the second-highest percentage of arts-related employees per capita in the country.
Atlanta boasts 3,573 arts-related businesses that employ 22,826 people, according to Creative Industries.
Last year, the Georgia capital ranked fourth-highest in arts-related businesses per capita out of the 100 largest U.S. cities.
Mayor Kasim Reed, in a press release from the city, said he was well aware of how many arts organizations “flourish” in the metro area and thus wasn’t surprised about the findings.
“But this report does confirm that the arts are a vital component of Atlanta’s economy,” Reed said. “And it supports my belief that great cities have great art … and the arts are a crucial component of a city’s soul.”
The No. 1 ranking in arts-related businesses is in sharp contrast to where Georgia ranks in terms of support for the arts. The state is 50th in the country in terms of legislative appropriations to state arts agencies, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.
The Georgia Council for the Arts was allocated $574,000 for fiscal 2012, on par with late 1970s appropriations.
The arts council recently moved under the management of the Georgia Department of Economic Development in an effort to provide it synergy and support beyond dollars and cents.