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The Arts Economy In Los Angeles

Posted on: July 25, 2018

Los Angeles is thriving with culture, diversity and talent. People come to the City of Angels from all over the world to chase their dreams. Whether they come to life on the stage, on the screen, or on the walls of a gallery, where would all these dream chasers be without the integral arts and cultural institutions that bring art to fruition? These organizations play a quintessential role as some of the most vital promoters of community engagement and creators of economic prosperity within the region.

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Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Robert Millard/LA Opera (©) Copyright 2003 by Robert Millard)

The creative industries in California, made up of both for-profit and non-profit arts, cultural and entertainment organizations, are major drivers of our economy. They create a total of 1.6 million jobs across the state and 699,600 in Los Angeles county alone, according to the 2018 study by the Otis College of Arts and Design. The individuals in these roles are responsible for generating nearly $179 billion in Los Angeles in a single fiscal year. In fact, 1 in every 7 individuals are employed by an organization that plays an active role in the LA creative economy. The non-profit visual and performing arts sector contributes $3.6 billion and 36,000 jobs. LA Opera is integral to this sector having provided 1,570 jobs on its own in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Funding plays the pivotal role in keeping arts organizations in Los Angeles (and everywhere) thriving. Los Angeles based non-profit arts organizations depend on the generosity of private donors as well as ticket purchases, and without this crucial support, arts non-profits would be unable to produce the artistry on our stages or in our museums.

In order to support and maintain its role as the premier opera company in Los Angeles, LA Opera raises about $30 million dollars per year: 95% from individuals, foundations and corporations, and only 5% from government sources. To be a successful contributor to the arts community and beyond, LA Opera relies immensely on its individuals and institutions.

What does this mean for us as Angelenos? How can we work to secure the safety of arts non-profits, and the overall prosperity of the arts economy, in Los Angeles? The answer comes in the form of very simple actions.

Buy a Ticket

It’s as easy as experiencing the art form first-hand, and most people don’t realize that every day when they’re dazzled and entertained across LA, they’re supporting the arts! By attending an LA Opera production, one is not only helping the larger Los Angeles arts economy and arts community, he or she is helping bring opera to all. Each ticket purchased, whether to the opera or to a museum, supports the vitality of this economy and helps keeps the arts community growing.


No matter how large or how small, your financial support is crucial to arts organizations in Los Angeles. At LA Opera, donations make up more than 60% of what it takes to produce opera on the stage and in our community each season. Help be a part of the community of proud supporters of LA Opera.


You love Opera and you personally want to have a hand in sharing it with the world? Become a volunteer! Without volunteer organizations like the Opera League of Los Angeles and Hispanics for LA Opera, LA Opera would not have the man power necessary to continue offering world-class opera on the stage, in schools, in hospitals, in senior centers… and more!

No matter how large or small your contribution may be, your action not only keeps arts, culture and dreams vibrant in LA, but it allows LA Opera to continue its mission of bringing world class opera to its patrons and the greater Los Angeles community.

Carolina Toledo fell in love with opera after seeing LA Opera’s production of Eugene Onegin in 2011. In addition to being both a participant and ambassador for the LA Opera 90012 program, she has participated in two Opera Camp productions. She is ecstatic to be returning to LA Opera this summer as the Public Relations and Archives Intern, through the LA County Arts Commission’s College Internship program.