Greater City Providence

Good news on job growth from the Creative Sector

Art + Design Lab for high school students, A Sculptor's History of the Eye, Art Shots and Sitings 2012 Opening
Photo (cc) RISD Museum

Amongst all the sturm und drang surrounding the 38 Studios debacle and municipal financial crises around the state, there is some good news from the creative sector of our economy. Over the last six years we have seen steady growth, 52% gain in creative industry businesses and a 13% rise in creative industry jobs. This all without a $75 million infusion of capital from the state.

And if you want to help boost that sector, The Providence Art Festival this weekend on Westminster Street is your perfect chance.

Report Shows Positive Trend in Jobs and Business in the Creative Industries in Rhode Island

A six-year trend, beginning in 2007 when the state’s recession began, shows 52% gain in creative industry businesses and 13% gain in creative industry jobs

PROVIDENCE, RI (May 24, 2012) – RI Citizens for the Arts (RI CFA) announces positive growth trends in creative industry jobs and businesses in Rhode Island. The annual Creative Industries in Rhode Island report shows the creative sector in RI added 770 jobs (or 6%) and 460 new businesses (or 16%) between 2011 and 2012. A six year trend, beginning in 2007 when the state’s recession hit, shows a strong and steadily growing industry sector, despite economic hard times. According to the report, based on Dun & Bradstreet registered businesses, the period from 2007-2012 shows overall a 52% gain in creative sector businesses and 13% gain in creative sector jobs in both nonprofit and for profit industries.

“Anecdotally, we’ve long understood the creative industries as a strong and resilient sector, and a significant asset to RI’s economy. With these compiled figures, we now also have concrete evidence,” noted Libby Slader, principal of Libby Slader Interior Design and RI CFA Board Chair. “In addition to providing core industry jobs, the creative sector feeds innovation and entrepreneurship. This is truly a solid basis for more growth and makes for a wise investment in our state.”

The most impressive gains found in the report are in design-related businesses and jobs. Businesses and jobs in design grew by 26% between 2011-2012. Over the six year spread, this industry shows a 194% increase in businesses (from 258 in 2007 to 758 in 2012) and 142% increase in jobs (from 535 in 2007 to 1297 in 2012). The motion picture industry also showed impressive increases between 2011-2012 with a 47% gain in businesses (from 214 in 2011 to 314 in 2012) and 27% gain in jobs (from 851 in 2011 to 1081 in 2012).

“Rhode Island has something a lot of other places don’t have; a community that fosters collaboration and values creativity,” said Matt Grigsby, founder of Ecolect, and co-founder of Anchor, a design incubation space in Providence. “At Anchor, we saw the potential to foster this community. Because of RI’s general proximity to Boston and NY, the colleges and universities that bring people here from all over the world and the ease in making connections, we see more and more passionate, skilled designers bringing new wealth and applied knowledge into the state to create change. It’s exactly the type of company our state needs.”

The Creative Industries in Rhode Island report, released by Americans for the Arts annually, and distributed locally by state captain RI Citizens for the Arts, is part of a nationwide study using Dun & Bradstreet data and geo-economic analysis to track and map the presence of arts-related entities in six creative industries: 1) museums and collections; 2) performing arts; 3) visual arts and photography; 4) film, radio, and TV; 5) design and publishing; and 6) arts schools and services. Those creative industries ranged from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and design companies. The report is considered a conservative estimate, as it is only counting those businesses that have registered with Dun & Bradstreet.

“We are not all that surprised by these numbers, though they are very impressive,” states Speaker of the House, Gordon Fox. “The arts and creative community has been a thriving industry sector in our state for some time. We are proud of the work that the General Assembly has done to support this growth over the years, and look forward to maximizing on the economic benefits this sector brings to Rhode Island.”

“Rhode Island’s creative industries play an important role in building and sustaining a strong economy,” said President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva-Weed. “This annual report reinforces the importance of this vital sector to our overall economic health. Jobs are being created in the arts-related businesses, which are important to tourism and broader economic development efforts.”

For more information on the report, please contact Lisa Carnevale, 401-954-1135, Graphs and spreadsheets available upon request.

About the Creative Industries Reports
Using data from Dun & Bradstreet|widely acknowledged as the most comprehensive and trusted source for business information in the United States|Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts reports by Americans for the Arts offer a research-based approach to understanding the scope and importance of the arts to the nation’s economy. While most economic impact studies of the arts have focused on the nonprofit sector, Creative Industries is the first national study that encompasses both the nonprofit and for-profit arts industries. Learn more at

About RI Citizens for the Arts
Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts is the statewide advocacy organization for the arts and creative sector. As a nonpartisan group, RI CFA organizes and educates citizens around initiatives to advance the creative community, to the benefit of all Rhode Island. Visit

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