Art Works Blog

Creativity is Serious Business

Los Angeles, California

Samuel Hoi at the November 10 launch event for the 2010 Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region. Photo courtesy of Otis College of Art and Design

Since 2007, Otis College of Art and Design has commissioned the annual Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region. The 2010 Otis Report, with a theme of The Power of Art and Artists and using 2009 data, demonstrates once again that creativity is serious business in Southern California. Even in these challenging economic times, the creative economy is one of the largest business sectors in the region, second only to tourism and hospitality. In 2009, the arts, design, and entertainment industries together supported one in six jobs in the area, generated $127 billion in sales revenues, and were the source of $4.6 billion in state and local tax revenues.

These regional findings make a national case. They put real numbers to the economic contributions of creative professionals and enterprises. Furthermore, the Otis Report data affirm that the 21st century is an age of ideas, in which creativity provides a long-range and sustainable competitive edge for the U.S. economy. Despite manufacturing downturns due largely to regional outsourcing of low-skill jobs, creative sector employment is projected to grow faster than in other sectors over the next five years and especially for high-skill creative jobs. Creativity stays onshore; innovation cannot be outsourced.

Hard data are but one way to substantiate the economic impact of creativity. In his keynote remarks at the November 10 Otis Report release event, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman made a most compelling statement: ?Artists are placemakers. When you bring arts organizations and arts workers into a neighborhood, the place changes to a vibrant and sustainable community. The arts complement and complete other sectors of the economy.?

Through this broader lens, the data in the Otis Report are more than the facts of creativity?s economic impact; they are the story of possibilities made real by a combination of education, talent, entrepreneurial drive, and opportunities. The lives, work, and achievements of creative professionals, such as Otis alumni, illustrate the power of the arts and artists in our economy, culture and communities. Their impact and contributions cannot be taken for granted. Vibrant creativity in the U.S. requires careful investment---as envisioned by the ?Art Works? agenda of NEA.

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