Mixed-media artist Andy Saczynski works on a billboard in downtown Minneapolis in August 2014. ELIZABETH FLORES/STAR TRIBUNE
Minneapolis' array of "creative" jobs and organizations -- and its spending on everything from books to theater tickets -- has helped the city move up the list of the most "creatively vital" cities in the country.
A report delivered to the City Council on Wednesday showed that Minneapolis ranked No. 5 based on a comparison of the largest 100 cities' spending, sales and jobs in the arts. Last year, the city was No. 6.
Gülgün Kayim, the city's director of arts, culture and the creative economy, said the rankings are based on data from a national organization, the Western States Arts Federation. The city first received the report in 2013.
The latest report shows that residents and visitors are spending more on things like artwork and concerts. In 2013, total retail arts sales were about $520 million, up 13 percent from two years earlier. Per capita, Minneapolis residents spent $1,165 per year on the arts. By comparison, the report said sports-related sales in the city amounted to about $534 million in revenue in 2013.
Meanwhile, Minneapolis generated another $311 million in revenues from arts-related nonprofits. That total includes grants awarded to organizations or museums and ticket sales for those groups' events.
Kayim said the report is useful as a city planning tool and as a selling point for the city; she reported that at least two art schools use it as a recruiting tool.
"We have a highly productive creative sector ... this is information that can help us create strategies for the city as an attractor and as a competitive advantage," she said.
The report found that 26 percent of the "creative" employment in the metro area is in Minneapolis. The top occupations were photographers, musicians and singers, writers and authors, graphic designers and public relations specialists. The fastest-growing fields: actors, fashion designers, sound engineering technicians and agents.
Council members said they were glad to see the city tracking the creative side of the city's economy and wanted to see more information on related jobs and salaries.
Council Member Kevin Reich, who represents an area of northeast Minneapolis known for its growing arts community, said he's glad the report uses data from across the country to give the city an idea of its progress.
"It's a very real tool in that sense," he said.
The cities that ranked ahead of Minneapolis were, in order: Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York City and Boston.