The United States of ArtMerica: How Artsy is Your State?

The United States has produced endless amounts of artists and works that will be seen for eternity. What exactly is defined as art? We at Artists Frame Service see art as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, which can encompass many mediums. 

Using that definition as a base, we set out to determine which states of the union are the artsiest by looking at three data sets: the projected state funding for each state, the number of professional artists per capita and the quantity of museums per capita of the state.

Based on the unique data sets, we’ve found that there are 2.1 million artists in the United States, who make up 1.4 percent of the total workforce and 6.9 percent of the professional workforce. Occupations ranged from designers to architects to writers and authors. (Unfortunately, framing professionals were not included in this assessment)

There are 35,000 museums in the United States based on our data, and the federal government, states and localities appropriated a combined $1.23 billion to the arts in 2014. By discipline, historic home and preservation sites accounted for almost half of the museums in the U.S. Funding revenue sources for non-profit performing arts groups and museums came from multiple avenues, including earned income; corporations and foundations; interest and endowment income and individual sources. 

According to our data, the Northeast is winning in the art department. Washington D.C., Vermont, Rhode Island and Maine were the top four artsiest areas. While Washington D.C. isn’t officially a state, it came in at No. 1 with the highest-paid artists in the country, with 10 percent making more than $125,000 a year. New York comes in at #8 despite the vast amounts of fine art to be found in New York City, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. 

On the flip side, the Southwest, based on our data, has some catching up to do. However, even though Texas and Arizona came in last, they still have a lot of artsy contributions to the U.S. The Shakespeare Festival of Dallas in the second oldest free Shakespeare festival in the United States, modeled after the New York Shakespeare Festival. 

It is the only educational program in North Texas focused exclusively on the works of Shakespeare. Additionally, the Phoenix Art Museum, founded in 1959, is considered to be one of the most important visual art galleries in the Southwest. It is home to more than 17,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art. Still a great showing for the state that came in last. 

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