The National Endowment for the Arts has yet to release its annual report for arts spending in 2012, but based on how much money Americans are giving to the arts, things may be looking up.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported that arts and culture was the fastest-growing charitable cause last year, bringing in $14.44 billion, a 7.8 percent raise. The article notes that the upswell is a positive sign following 2008 and 2009, when the recession tanked arts giving with an 8.2 percent decline.
However, A/C still lags behind the usual giving targets: religion, education and human services. Plus, inflation has changed the value of the donations, meaning that donors would have had to give $15.17 billion last year to bring the arts to its pre-recession peak. Experts say it will take six or seven years for the arts to reach that point again.
Why the arts rebound? Perhaps because folks are feeling "more free to indulge it now that they think the economy has improved." It's a reasoning that worries some arts advocates, "who've labored mightily to portray the arts as a basic and fundamental nutrient for economic growth and educational achievement, rather than mere icing on society's cake."
Either way, more money means less problems, a trend that will hopefully continue. Some of the figures in the article come from Previous Giving USA, which reports that all manner of philanthropy will likely take until 2018 to reach pre-recession power.