Area attracting creativity

April 4th, 2017

Study finds 4.5% of northeast Indiana jobs are in arts

The Journal Gazette

Northeast Indiana's creative economy consists of 18,834 jobs, or 4.5 percent of all jobs, a study released Wednesday showed.

The number of northeast Indiana's creative economy jobs is similar to other key employment sectors including construction, finance and insurance, and transportation and warehousing, according to a study that was commissioned by the Indiana Arts Commission with support from Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.

Statewide, there are an estimated 160,621 creative economy jobs, accounting for 4.3 percent of all Hoosier jobs.

“This data illustrates that the creative sector is a substantial part of northeast Indiana's economy,” Susan Mendenhall, president of Arts United, said in a news release.

“As the home of significant creative businesses like Sweetwater, Vera Bradley, and Matilda Jane, there has been a level of awareness that Fort Wayne is becoming a national destination for creative jobs, and that we need to continue to build strategies to develop, attract, and retain creative professionals,” Mendenhall said. 

Creative jobs include those that focus on the production and distribution of cultural goods, services, and intellectual property.

The Creative Economy and Employment Impact study was piloted in northeast Indiana in 2015 by Arts United and the Community Research Institute at IPFW with a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission.

John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said the organization is developing and implementing strategies to build on the area's strength “in craftmanship and design.”

The state Arts Commission released its statewide findings Monday.

“It's exciting to see how the arts contribute to the vitality of communities throughout the state of Indiana,” Nancy Stewart, chair of the commission and board member of Arts United, said in a statement.


The northeast Indiana Region 3 defined in the creative economy study comprises 11 counties: Allen, Wells, Adams, Huntington, Whitley, Noble, DeKalb, Steuben, Wabash, LaGrange, and Miami:

  • There are 534 creative business establishments in northeast Indiana. The top three are commercial printing, advertising agencies and wired telecommunications carriers.
  • Self-employment makes up 56 percent of northeast Indiana's creative occupations, and payroll employment makes up 44 percent. The top three self-employed occupations are photographers (1,194 self-employed jobs), writers and authors (581), and musicians and singers (528). The average annual wage for creative occupations is $34,382.
  • Self-employment makes up 32 percent of northeast Indiana's creative industries, and payroll employment makes up 68 percent. The top three creative industry payroll employers are wired telecommunications carriers (1,597 payroll jobs), commercial printing (1,349), and book printing (1,075). The average annual wage for creative industry payroll jobs is $41,002, and the average annual wage for self-employed creative industry jobs is $24,988.