Creative businesses, well-designed downtowns, lively bookstores, an indie music scene, thriving art galleries -- these are components of communities that form and attract the 21st century economy -- and which help attract new business to Oregon.
Not every community may be a hub of economic and cultural innovation. But every community can grow and enhance its cultural and economic health by encouraging policies that support creative vitality. The Creative Vitality Index was conceived by the Washington State Arts Commission in partnership with the Western States Arts Federation as a tool that cities, counties and states can use to assess and enhance their creative edge.
Data from the most recent Creative Vitality Index (CVI) for Oregon indicates that Oregon has over 60,000 jobs that are directly related to the creative economy, including actors, editors, graphic designers, photographers, writers, etc.
The Creative Vitality Index tracks 36 selected occupational categories -- including art directors and musicians, photographers and editors, dancers, exhibit designers and authors -- that are highly correlated with measured skill sets in thinking creatively, and having/possessing originality, and fine arts knowledge. The CVI also tracks revenue for non-profit arts organizations, book store sales, and other data related to arts participation. Oregon's Creative Vitality Index for the 2009 calendar year was 1.02, an increase from the previous year and just slightly above the nation as a whole.
What is the Creative Vitality Index?
The Creative Vitality Index is an annual measure of the health of the creative economy in a city, county, state or other geographic area. The creative economy as defined in the Creative Vitality Index includes for-profit and nonprofit arts-related enterprises. Using readily available, inexpensive data on employment and community participation, the Creative Vitality Index reflects the vigor of this sector of the economy and culture. The Index has two major components. One component measures seven indicators of community PARTICIPATION in the arts (i.e., per capita museum and art gallery revenue from ticket and product sales). The other component measures concentrations of arts-related EMPLOYMENT (e.g., actors, graphic designers, television producers, art teachers).
How Did We Do?
The baseline score for the Creative Vitality Index is 1.00 -- this is the national score using the same data streams used locally. A region's score reflects a value relative to this national baseline; a score of 1.00 or greater means that the area has a relatively strong arts sector. Newly reconfigured with more reliable data and a tighter focus on the creative economy, the Oregon's Creative Vitality Index for the 2008 calendar year was 1.02, an increase from the previous year and just slightly above the nation as a whole.
A Tool for Growth
The Creative Vitality Index can inform public policy decision-making and support the work of advocates for the development of the creative economy. Among many projected uses, the Index can:
- Call attention to and educate the community at large concerning the components and dynamics of the creative economy.
- Promote the concept that the creative economy includes both for-profit and nonprofit arts-related activities.
- Call attention to significant changes in the creative economy ecosystem. If contributions from private foundations drop substantially in a year and three major architectural firms leave the area, it's time for action.
- Act as a framework upon which to define and build a coalition to support and expand the creative economy.
- Serve as a diagnostic tool to provide baseline and then annually measure changes in the creative economy.
Part of a Bigger Conversation
Around the country, civic leaders, economists, philanthropists, mainstream business leaders and arts community leaders are engaged in lively dialogue about what constitutes the creative economy and to what degree it impacts a region's overall economic and cultural health.
The Creative Vitality Index reflects the broad, systems-oriented thinking behind this dialogue and reinforces that nonprofit arts organizations and public arts agencies are part of an interdependent whole, the creative sector, the vitality of which is essential to the continuing health and vitality of the greater economy and community.