Cultural and Ethnic Awareness

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Cultural Organizations Indicators: Cultural & Ethnic Awareness

As the nation’s fourth most populous city, with more than 90 languages spoken in the area, Houston is increasingly celebrated for its burgeoning diversity, and has been cited as “the shape of things to come.” Houston’s current ethnic composition is thought to reflect the anticipated future diversity of urban and suburban areas in the U.S. (Klineberg et al., 2012). A recent study by the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GHCVB) measured both internal and external perceptions of Houston as a travel destination, revealing that Houston “gets rave reviews for diversity.” According to a report released by the Kinder Institute of Urban Research and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas, Houston has surpassed cities such as Los Angeles and New York as the most ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the United States. The following indicator examines the growing number of arts establishments classified as “Cultural and Ethnic Awareness Organizations” in the Houston region, as well as their accessibility to certain populations. More below…

The population of the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area increased by approximately 26 percent between 2000 and 2010, with Harris County experiencing the largest influx of new residents of all U.S. counties in 2011 and 2012. In the next 30 years, the region is expected see a population increase of between 2.2 million to upwards of 3.5 million people, with more than 2 million concentrated in Harris County alone. This growth is attributable in nearly equal parts to natural increase and net migration.

Many major and established arts establishments in the region have a substantial commitment to ethnic diversity in offerings and outreach, and these populations represent a large share of arts and cultural audiences in the region. For a city that is both growing and diversifying rapidly, an increase in the number of cultural organizations serving the population would provide a solid base for fostering a more robust arts and culture scene. On the other hand, with a higher number of organizations, constraints on development, such as insufficient and/or fragmented funding, can occur. This could result in a lack of sustainability in projects and programs, as well as a potential lack of coordination among organizations.

While overall growth in the number of cultural organizations in Houston testifies to the universal appetite for arts and culture in this community (as also observed in metros throughout the U.S. from 2000 to 2010), minority populations may often be overlooked and underserved by arts nonprofits. It remains unclear whether diversity is collectively experienced among the region’s inhabitants and, specific to arts and culture, whether ethnic works are represented among available arts platforms. The Center’s focus group participants expressed concern that ethnic arts may only be enjoyed within the communities from which they are born as well as a desire for these works to be more broadly marketed and shared throughout the region.


Source cited

Stephen L. Klineberg, Jie Wu, Celina L. Aldape, “Houston Arts Survey: Participation, Perceptions, and Prospets,” Kinder Institute for Urban Research, 2012, Retrieved from: http://kinder.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/Center_for_the_Study_of_Houston/Kinder%20Houston%20Arts%20Survey%202012.pdf.

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