NASAA Notes: February 2019

February 5, 2019

State Arts Agencies Advancing Rural Equity

Using state arts agency grant-making data, NASAA continues to analyze how states serve diverse communities in efforts to advance equity. NASAA’s latest infographic, State Arts Agencies Advancing Rural Equity, communicates how state arts agencies allocate grant awards and funding to rural areas.

Defining rural is a challenge for researchers and policymakers. There is no one way of doing so, and different approaches have their own advantages and drawbacks. NASAA’s approach in this instance looks at rural areas by ZIP codes based on their proximity to metropolitan areas. By this measure, 18% of Americans live in rural areas and 21% of state arts agency awards go to these areas. These grants data suggest a proportional investment, however there is room for more parity: 18% of the population is receiving 17% of available grant funds.

To make the arts accessible, grant makers need to take into account the unique geographic, population and infrastructure dynamics of rural communities. The infographic explores state arts agency investments exclusively in rural areas compared with selected socioeconomic characteristics of rural counties.

In most cases—but not always—state arts agency investments to economically disadvantaged populations within rural areas are made in greater proportion when compared to the population. A better understanding of rural and urban poverty would come from a more granular examination of grants by geography and of poverty rates by demographic characteristics.

For more information on how state arts agencies advance equity through grant making, see our Best Practices page under Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, or contact NASAA Senior Director of Research Ryan Stubbs or Research Associate Patricia Mullaney-Loss.

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State to State

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Legislative Update

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