Fort Wayne & NE Indiana News

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IAC And Arts United Release Statewide Study On Creative Economy

Northeast Indiana’s creative economy consists of 18,834 jobs, or 4.5 percent of all jobs in the region, according to a study commissioned by the Indiana Arts Commission with support from Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.

The number of northeast Indiana’s creative economy jobs is similar to other key employment sectors including construction, finance and insurance, and transportation and warehousing. Statewide, there are an estimated 160,621 creative economy jobs, or 4.3 percent of all Hoosier jobs.

"This data illustrates that the creative sector is a substantial part of northeast Indiana’s economy. As the home of significant creative businesses like Sweetwater, Vera Bradley, and Matilda Jane, there has been a level of awareness that Fort Wayne is becoming a national destination for creative jobs, and that we need to continue to build strategies to develop, attract, and retain creative professionals. Baseline economic research gives us the ability to understand how we can more fully develop this sector to support regional goals for economic development," said Susan Mendenhall, President of Arts United.

The Creative Economy and Employment Impact study was piloted in northeast Indiana in 2015 by Arts United and the Community Research Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne with a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission.

"Influenced by Arts United’s piloted creative economy study in combination with the results of the Creative Census conducted by Wunderkammer in 2015, the Regional Partnership has put this data to work by refining our target industries. Specifically, we are developing and implementing strategies to build on Northeast Indiana’s strength in craftsmanship and design," said John Sampson, President & CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) expanded the study with research and analysis provided by the Indiana University School of Public Policy which included data about the distribution of Creative Economy jobs throughout the state and comparisons with other states. The IAC released its statewide findings on March 27, 2017.

"It’s exciting to see how the arts contribute to the vitality of communities throughout the state of Indiana," said Nancy Stewart, chair of the Indiana Arts Commission and board member of Arts United. "At the state level, the Indiana Arts Commission is developing strategies to support growth in creative entrepreneurship in addition to continuing to support the work of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations."

Key findings for eleven counties of northeast Indiana include:

  • There are 534 creative business establishments in northeast Indiana. The top three creative business establishments are commercial printing, advertising agencies, and wired telecommunications carriers.
  • Self-employment makes up 56 percent of northeast Indiana’s creative occupations, and payroll employment makes up 44 percent. The top three self-employed occupations are photographers (1,194 self-employed jobs), writers and authors (581 self-employed jobs), and musicians and singers (528 self-employed jobs). The average annual wage for creative occupations is $34,382.

Self-employment makes up 32 percent of northeast Indiana’s creative industries, and payroll employment makes up 68 percent. The top three creative industry payroll employers are wired telecommunications carriers (1,597 payroll jobs), commercial printing (1,349 payroll jobs), and book printing (1,075 payroll jobs). The average annual wage for creative industry payroll jobs is $41,002, and the average annual wage for self-employed creative industry jobs is $24,988.