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World Cities Culture Finance Report

How cultural organisations could respond

South Asian Dance, courtesy of Los Angeles County Arts Commission

Our World Cities Culture Finance Report was published last week, after an intensive 18-month research process. The report is the first global comparative study on how culture is financed in world cities.

In all the cities, cultural organisations are close partners with city administrations. So in addition to analysing current funding landscape, the report also provides these organisations with ideas which they can use to take a proactive approach to the future of funding in their cities. Many of these mechanisms are sector-led, and include:

  • City-wide crowdfunding campaigns. In Stockholm, Sydney and Seoul, crowdfunding platforms are used as match funding from national and city culture budgets. Some cities make donations to cultural organisations tax deductible.
  • Cooperative models. In Amsterdam, a ‘cooperative’ of professional musicians invests €1,000 each in a building and individually performs several concerts per year for paying members.
  • Participatory budgeting, as in New York where city residents participate in the allocation of capital funds
  • Shenzhen has embraced a concept known as ‘Culture +’ which gives organisations the flexibility to access venture funding through combinations such as ‘culture + technology,’ ‘culture + entrepreneurship,’ and ‘culture + finance’.
  • There are even suggestions for securing direct revenue. For example, in Los Angeles a 2.5% on the gross receipts of some cable operators supports the filming and distribution of performing arts programmes.

The full report is here.