As part of the new strategic plan adopted by South Arts, the organization has launched a research program. The two main areas of inquiry in which we are interested are the creative economy and arts education, as well as the intersection between the two, which is workforce development.

Our first foray into creative economy research is Creative Industries in the South: A Research Report, which establishes baseline data for the region’s creative industries. South Arts has published the 210-page report which looks at the establishments, employment, wages, and revenues for the combined for-profit and non-profit creative industries in the nine-state region served by South Arts – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The study also takes a separate look at the nonprofit arts, culture, and humanities organizations as a segment of the creative industries.

In addition, South Arts was commissioned by Alabama State Council on the Arts to conduct more detailed creative industries research on four metro areas in Alabama – Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery. This research will soon be published by Alabama State Council on the Arts as Creative Industries in Alabama. Check for updates here.

South Arts has also released the results of multi-year research investigating arts education in the South. The reports, Arts Education in the South Phase I: Public School Data and Principals’ Perspectives and Arts Education in the South Phase II: Profiles of Quality, look at access to and quality of arts education in K-12 public schools in our nine-state region through a set of quantitative and qualitative research.

As our organization builds the important work of research on the creative economy and arts education in the South, we will look to our member state arts agencies, arts organizations, artists, constituents, colleagues, and supporters to provide input and feedback on our work. If you have comments or questions related to the work of South Arts in this arena, you can reach South Arts’ Deputy Director Mollie Quinlan-Hayes at or 404-874-7244 x31.