Art Works Blog

Happy Birthday to Us!!!

Washington, DC

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Arts and Humanities Act on September 29, 1965. Photo courtesy of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library

A Compendium of Statistics on the National Endowment for the Arts on the occasion of its 45th Birthday

Forty-five years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, establishing the National Endowment for the Arts. More than four decades later, the NEA continues to play a key role in enhancing American communities through the arts. Here are  a few stats on what we've been up to the last 45 years. And yes, there may be a quiz!

Total dollar amount of NEA grants awarded to nonprofit organizations in 45-year history: $4 billion (>130,000 grants) i

Economic activity generated by the nonprofit arts sector each year: $166 billionii

Number of cities participating in NEA's Mayor's Institutes on City Design since 1986: 600 iii

Average ratio of matching funds to NEA awards: 7:1 iv

Rate at which arts participants volunteer compared to non-participants: 2:1 v

Languages translated into English through NEA Literature Translation Fellowships: 61vi

Most recent estimate of languages spoken worldwide: 6,909vii

Most common full-time arts profession: graphic designerviii

Most common volunteer performing arts activity: choral singer ix

Rank of education as a primary influence on arts participation: #1 x

Percentage of Internet users who watch, listen to, or download art at least once a week: 30 xi

Average cumulative audience per broadcast for the NEA-supported television program
Great Performances: 2.3 million xii

Average time Americans age 15-24 spent watching TV daily: 2 hours xiii

Average time spent reading for pleasure daily: 7 minutes.xiv

Rank of poem Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou, as selected by students competing in the 2006 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest: #1 xv

Average time to create a three-foot traditional rug
by NEA National Heritage Fellow and seventh-generation weaver Irvin Trujillo: 50 days xvi

Average production time to machine-weave three feet of polyester fabric: 2 minutes xvii

Percentage of American recipients of the National Book Awards, National Book Critics Circle Awards, and Pulitzer Prizes in fiction and poetry who have received NEA Creative Writing Fellowships: 58 xviii

Number of cities to hold community-wide readings of To Kill a Mockingbird through The Big Read: 130xix


i. Source: NEA at a Glance

ii. Source: Americans for the Arts, "Arts & Economic Prosperity III: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences"

iii. Source: NEA Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative

iv. Source: How the US Funds the Arts

v. Source: The Arts and Civic Engagement

vi. Source: NEA Newsroom, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman Announces $300,000 for 20 Literature Translation Fellowships (9/7/10)

vii. Source:

viii. Source: Artists in the Workforce 

ix. Source: NEA 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts

x. Source: National Endowment for the Arts, Effects of Arts Education on Participation in the Arts, 1996, and Age and Arts Participation: 1982-1997, 2000.

xi. Source: Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation

xii. source: WNET

xiii. Source: To Read or Not To Read

xiv. Ibid

xv. Source: National Endowment for the Arts

xvi. Source: NEA Heritage Fellow Irwin Trujillo, Centinela Traditional Arts, Chimayo, New Mexico

xvii. Source: "How It's Made: Fleece" episode from Aug 20, 2009, The Science Channel.

xviii. Source: National Endowment for the Arts.  N.B. Since 1990, 53 of the 91 American recipients of National Book Awards, National Book Critics Circle Awards, and Pulitzer Prizes in fiction and poetry have received Creative Writing Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Of these 53, all but three were supported by the Endowment before receiving the national award, often 10 to 20 years earlier. 

xix. Source: National Endowment for the Arts

Add new comment