Cultural & Ethnic Awareness Quantity Geographic Density Date Established

Cultural Organizations Indicators: Date Established

It is well known that the number of arts nonprofits grew substantially in the 2000s. Nationally, “millennial” organizations (established after 1999) represent more than 30 percent of all arts nonprofits, providing clear evidence of entrepreneurship in the arts (AA, 2013). The youthfulness characterizing numerous cultural organizations may also be due in part to Houston’s status as one of the youngest populations in the nation (City of Houston, 2014). This indicator reveals how much the Houston region’s arts scene has participated in the entrepreneurial growth occurring in communities around the country. More below…

Newer organizations generally take an innovative approach toward their specific disciplines, serving as incubators to test new ideas, though established organizations can also be innovators. Thus, to what extent do communities favor older institutions over newer? Do they provide an environment that encourages or discourages new organizations?

The number of millennial cultural organizations is just part of the “institutional or entrepreneurial” factor in the cultural character of a community. Generally, new organizations have less revenue than established organizations and may have a different revenue profile. Nationally, millennial cultural organizations hold a 19 percent share of all cultural organizations’ revenues. While close to one-third of cultural organizations are new, they bring in less than one-fifth of revenue. In Houston, groups under this category hold a 40 percent share of all the cultural organizations in the region, but they account for only 10 percent of the region’s total revenue accrued by the arts.

There are several possible explanations for this difference: millennial organizations may be more productive and efficient with a smaller infrastructure that needs less support, as well as a potential reliance on the drive of a founder. Or, they may face a very tough competitive environment that makes it difficult to build revenue. These possible scenarios can be seen in many regions, distinctively characterizing each of their arts economies.

Sources cited

“2013 National Arts Index,” Americans for the Arts, Retrieved from:

“Houston Facts and Figures,” The City of Houston, 2014, Retrieved from: