Creative sector growing in R.I.

'Design firms are enjoying a renaissance across the Ocean State.'

Design firms are enjoying a renaissance of sorts across the Ocean State. More

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Creative sector growing in R.I.

'Design firms are enjoying a renaissance across the Ocean State.'

Matt Grigsby, Founder, Ecolet and Julia Li Partner
Posted 7/16/12

Design firms are enjoying a renaissance of sorts across the Ocean State.

Since the economy turned sour in 2007, the state’s creative businesses – as categorized by state law – have been growing. For the last six years, an overall 52 percent growth in creative-sector businesses and 13 percent gain in creative-sector jobs in both nonprofit and for-profit industries was observed in Little Rhody, according to a nationwide study using Dun & Bradstreet data.

As of Jan. 1, 2012, the design and publishing industries had 1,086 businesses and 2,699 employees in the state. Of that total, there were 195 architectural companies employing 709 people, and 758 design companies with 1,297 employees, more than all other artistic categories with the exception of the visual arts/photography.

Released annually by Americans for the Arts, the Creative Industries in Rhode Island report is part of the nationwide study designed to track the presence of arts-related entities in six creative industries: museums and collections; performing arts; visual arts and photography; film, radio, and TV; design and publishing; and arts schools and services. The report only includes businesses that have registered with Dun & Bradstreet.

According to the report, last year the creative sector in Rhode Island added 770 jobs, or 6 percent, and 460 new businesses, or a 16 percent boost.

In arts-related jobs per 1,000 residents, the state ranks 6th in the nation in having the most people employed in the creative sector, with 12.72 jobs per 1,000 residents. In arts-related businesses, Rhode Island ranks 17th in the nation at 3.07 businesses per 1,000.

Lisa Carnevale, policy and advocacy director for the Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts and partner with Myranda Group, a Rhode Island advertising agency, said the growth in creative-sector businesses “is noticeable around the city and the state.”

The large gains are primarily due to design-related businesses and jobs. Over the past six years, this industry showed a 194 percent increase in businesses (from 258 in 2007 to 758 in 2012) and 142 percent increase in jobs (from 535 in 2007 to 1297 in 2012).

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