This past Wednesday I attended one of my favorite events of the business year—the presentation of the Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region. For those of you not familiar with this annual event, Otis partners with the LA Economic Development Corporation to assess the size, breadth, and impact of the creative industries locally. This year it was held in the theater at the Colburn School downtown. It is always at the crack of dawn and preceded by coffee and pastries, a chance for me to catch up with artistic friends that I don’t happen across the rest of the year. Otis President Sammy Hoi is truly one of LA’s treasures.
The presenters are brilliant economists, riveting speakers, and I always come away with a heightened respect for all of us who toil in the creative businesses and (every year I am surprised by this) a large appreciation of the state of California that is such a hospitable home for us.
The report is published and quite thick and detailed so I will summarize here some of the more interesting findings for 2009.
• Locally the creative industries are #2 in size after tourism
• 1 in every 6 jobs in Los Angeles and Orange counties is tied to the creative industries
• In LA/OC they account for $286 billion in economic output and $4.6 billion in local and state taxed paid
• In the LA metro area there are 3 times as many creatively employed as there are in the country as a whole
One of the highlights was Rocco Landesman, the Chairman of the NEA. He pointed out the obvious, wherever artists move urban redevelopment follows. He has used his position to reach out to Obama’s cabinet secretaries to find ways to incorporate artist housing and spaces in their plans for urban redevelopment and creative programs in accomplishing their missions. This includes HUD (to subsidize artist housing), DOT (for integration of art in transit projects), Education, Agriculture, and HHS (in the realm of mental health and child development). His vision is one where the arts are a routine component of federal domestic policy.
If you get a chance to attend next year, jump at it.
For more information on the event, click here.