Study: Minneapolis is sixth most creative economy

KRISTIN TILLOTSON | Updated 2/28/2013

The latest attempt to quantify art's effect on the city economy uses income-tax data and ZIP codes.

The iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, flanked by visiting Rockettes (in 2008).

The Minneapolis Creative Index 2013 isn't the first report to point out the above-average contributions of artistic and other creative professions to the local economy. But it is different than predecessors in that it focuses on all creative jobs, including graphic designers, photographers  and architects, whether they are nonprofit or for-profit, and identifies those jobholders based on what they listed on their income-tax returns.

The most creative zip codes, downtown's 55401 and 55402, also don't raise any eyebrows, because that's where the highest concentration of workers of all types are located. But here's one for the "who knew" department: Retail sales in the city's creative economy -- meaning ticket sales to performances, locally created artwork and photography and the like -- are about 70 percent of the size of retail from the sports economy.

Other findings: Creative jobs make up five percent of the city's total workforce (20,000). Performing-arts revenues are nearly 10 times the national average, with per-capita theater revenues even higher, 14 times the national average. Nonprofit arts organizations receive more than 13 times the average in charitable giving.

The city will use the report as a "baseline measure" to develop future arts-related plans and goals, and to capitalize on  the strengths and counter the deficiencies indicated by the findings.

But what you non-numbercrunchers really want to know is, who beat us and who'd we beat? Ahead of us are Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, but we inched ahead of our artsy West-Coast rivals Seattle and Portland, as well as Austin, Texas. And all hail our neighbor to the north Duluth, which rolls in at no. 35, not bad for a smaller city.

[Photo: Kyndell Harkness]