The Creative Vitality™ Index: An Overview

The Creative Vitality™ Index (CVI™) is a sophisticated creative-economy measurement tool that arms stakeholders with highly reliable data about an area's creative sectors. The most dynamic creative economy report available today, the CVI™ provides an annual measure of the health and creative vitality of the arts in a specific area. The CVI™ augments the efforts of arts agency leadership and advocates in building strategy and creating policy to strengthen creative sectors or in response to a deficiency. This tool goes far beyond traditional economic impact studies to include annual comparative data about commercial and non-profit creative enterprises and occupations, as well as consumer spending in key creative sectors. As part of WESTAF's commitment to the ongoing enhancement to the CVI™, all CVI™ data will soon be offered in an online format via CVI™ Data on Demand™, a new web tool that allows users to log in and access a variety of reports and combinations of data packaged to your preference--on the fly.

When you purchase a CVI™ report, you gain immediate access to aggregated data sets for your area that are established, longitudinal, and annually maintained--powerful data that has been analyzed to produce a single index number reflecting the relative economic health of your creative economy. Years of research, data gathering, and analysis by WESTAF means that your CVI™ report is ready and available now. In addition to an expansive report that includes all data and analysis for your area, commissioning a CVI™ now means immediate access to Data on Demand™.

Economic development practitioners increasingly recognize the creative economy as a significant driver of economic growth as well as a key factor in an area’s quality of life. The CVI™ provides a framework for conceptualizing and understanding the elements of a creative economy and is also a tool for tracking changes in that economy. The CVI™ includes both non-profit and for-profit industry data at the city, county, state, region, and national level. Soon, data sets will be available by ZIP code.

Annual comparative data allows you to track and compare your creative economic vitality from year to year and against other cities, counties, states, or regions. Commissioning the CVI™ for multiple years allows for significant strategizing around trends in the creative economy. CVI™ users are often interested in how regions compare to one another. Recently, the San Diego metropolitan area found that its overall Creative Vitality™ Index measure is higher than the Chicago metropolitan area, but lower than Austin, New York, Denver, and Los Angeles. In terms of looking directly at similar regions, comparing a number of rural counties may be a better strategy for identifying strengths in a state comprised largely of rural areas, for example, than comparing a rural county to the national index--although both scenarios are possible. An almost unlimited number of comparisons are available using the CVI™ on any city, county, state, region, or national level.

Why was the CVI™ created?
The Creative Vitality™ Index (CVI™) was developed by WESTAF, a 37-year-old regional non-profit arts service organization engaged in cultural policy, research, and technology development. The CVI™ was developed over seven years ago and was initiated by WESTAF in conjunction with the Washington State Arts Commission and the Seattle of Office of Arts and Culture. The guiding principle in developing the CVI™ was to create an affordable research report for state and local arts agencies, one that encompassed both commercial and nonprofit arts activities using a sample of highly reliable data streams that could be updated on an ongoing basis.

Supplementary Research
The CVI™ offers clients the option to customize the CVI™ by commissioning supplemental quantitative and qualitative research that measures the economic dimensions of local creative interests such as popular music, arts education, and other activities. For example, in 2009, WESTAF commissioned and completed an in-depth study of music in Denver, Listen Local, as part of the Creative Vitality™ Index (CVI™) report prepared for the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs. The objective was to use quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the economic vitality of Denver's music community after recognizing strong activity in that area. Data collected and analyzed for the report included interviews with key figures in the music community and economic data on for- and non-profit music activities. The resulting technical report containing the findings is an example of the kind of supplemental reporting available to agencies and organizations that license the CVI™.

Excellent Examples of CVI™ Summaries

Get Started
National, regional, state, and local CVI™ reports are available now with no work required by you, no need to allocate funds or staff time, and no long waiting period for results. The budget-friendly CVI™ is available for as little as $6,000 and includes a complete CVI™ report and analysis and access to the CVI™ Data on Demand™ web tool. Learn more at