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How many arts & cultural organizations are there in the Philadelphia Region? LOTS.

How Many Arts & Cultural Organizations Are There in the Philadelphia Region? LOTS.

Is that enough? Or too many?


That’s the total number of arts and cultural organizations known to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance as of 2010. In addition to being a moving target, as new organizations are being started all the time and existing organizations exit the stage, it is a difficult number to get a handle on, given the breadth of cultural activities in the region. However, every two years, the Alliance combines data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project (PACDP), and our own membership rolls to produce a comprehensive count of all arts and cultural organizations.

Of the 2,874 organizations, there are:

- 2,024 in the five Southeastern PA counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia)

- 608 in five South NJ counties (Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, Salem)

- 242 in New Castle County, DE

Not surprisingly, Philadelphia has the largest single number of organizations, with 948 organizations. But in all counties, most of the organizations are in the budget size categories of Very Small (budgets under $25,000 per year) and Small (budgets $25,000 to $249,000). In fact, 2,376 of the 2,874 organizations are Small or Very Small – that’s 83% of all the organizations in the 11-county region.

Are There More Than There Used To Be?

Yes, just two years ago, in 2008, there were about 5% fewer arts and cultural organizations in the region (2,739 – or 135 fewer). All counties experienced some growth in the number of organizations – from 2% in Mercer, NJ and Montgomery, PA counties to 13% in Gloucester and Salem NJ counties and 15% in Chester, PA, the county experiencing the fastest rate of growth. The number of Very Small organizations alone in Chester county jumped 25%, from 103 in 2008 to 129 this year. Philadelphia experienced growth in all budget size categories.

Is It Getting a Little Too Crowded?

This is a question on the minds of many in the arts and cultural community, especially in light of the recent economic downturn. Some wonder that the region may not have the resources to support all of these organizations.

Early findings seem to indicate that the financial resources of the organizations have so far been able to keep up with the pace of growth. Among a subset of organizations for which comparable data* is available, in Southeastern PA:

- The number of arts and cultural organizations has increased by 70% from 1995 to 2010.

- Total revenue taken in by these organizations has increased by 80%, adjusted for inflation

As this issue of the pace of growth relative to financial resources is quite important, the Cultural Alliance will continue to study it in greater detail and publicize future findings.

* comparison dataset contains figures for 1,788 of the 2,024 Southeastern PA organizations in 2010


Budget Categories (per annual expenditures) for graphic below are as follows:

Very Large (over $10M), Large ($1M - $9.99 M), Medium ($250K - $999K)

Small ($25K to $249K) Very Small (under $25K)