Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts Selected for First-Ever Local Arts Index Research Study

Posted on 04/01/11 No Comments

Charleston, SC, March 23, 2011 — The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts has been selected by Americans for the Arts,  the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts, to lead the charge in the inaugural Local Arts Index research study. Local arts agencies around the nation will be part of an 18-month research initiative that serves as a complement to the National Arts Index; Charleston is one of the 100 communities that will participate. The findings from the Local Arts Index will be reported in the winter of 2011.

The Local Arts Index will be the first county-level study designed to measure the health and vitality of the arts industries throughout the United States. It will use a single methodology utilizing information gathered from research produced by the federal government and private research organizations and covering multiple industries, including nonprofit groups, for-profit arts businesses, employment figures, and more. When these quantitative measures are taken together, the Local Arts Index will provide a year-by-year and community-by-community comparison of the nation’s arts sector.

“The arts are a fundamental component of a healthy society. The importance of being chosen for this study for our community, especially in times when arts budgets are being slashed across the board, is that its results will clearly communicate why the arts should be funded,” states Jessica Solomon Bluestein, executive director of the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts. “In addition, the Tri-county’s participation in the study and its results will put our city on the national arts map.”

Aiding the Alliance in conducting the survey is Zari Stanko, a graduate student of the College of Charleston, who will contact local arts organizations and businesses to collect the necessary data. The following local arts index indicators are included: performing arts venues, local ownership of local cultural resources, local literary scene, local arts events, provision of arts education, performance and presentation opportunity for young artists, tourist draw of local arts and culture and coverage of local arts and culture in print media to mention a few.

“Our regional participation in the National Arts Index will create a local data base of arts indicators that can be measured against the national data base.  My hope is that it will be used by both public and private sector policy and decision makers to make informed decisions on maintaining a healthy cultural community for the benefit of all,” says Marty Besancon, director of the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department.

The Kresge Foundation has awarded Americans for the Arts a $1.2 million grant to conduct the Local Arts Index, as well as the supporting workshops and materials necessary to assist communities in the effective application of the local data. Research for the Local Arts Index is directed by Roland Kushner, PhD, through support from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.

National Arts Index, Full Report:

National Arts Index, One Page Overview:


About the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts:
The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is dedicated to the shared realization of a dynamic and thriving arts community by serving arts organizations in the region of Charleston, SC with resources and best business practices. Acting as a catalyst and facilitator for Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties, the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts envisions an engaged community that is fully expressive, creative and inspired by the arts. The Alliance imagines: the building of bridges within the arts community and between arts organizations and the community as a whole; a common language among diverse constituents; enhanced economic impact of the arts; all art forms made accessible to the community; and, our artisans, performers and organizations being highly recognized, valued and respected.

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Media Contact:

Vladia Jurcova-Spencer,, 843-345-3275


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