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Minneapolis' creative industry is 8 times more valuable than its sports

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If you're a member of Minneapolis' creative industry, you helped contribute $4.5 billion to the local economy last year.

That's the finding of a report into the value of the city's arts and culture workers released on Wednesday. It shows creative jobs grew by 10.4 percent in 2015 – ahead of the 7.2 percent rise seen across all jobs in Minneapolis.

And despite Minneapolis being home to the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and Lynx, the $4.5 billion revenue generated by the creative sector dwarfs that made by the sports industry by eight times.

In spite of this, the average salary earned by creative workers was $3.18 an hour less than the metro-area wide average.

The report, called the Minneapolis Creative Index, measures the economic health of the city's creative companies and nonprofits. It found that the creative industry in the Twin Cities is the sixth most vibrant for a metro area in the country.

The study delves into some real depth on what comprises Minneapolis' creative sector, breaking down what areas generate the most revenue (publishing – print, music, software) and which jobs are the most popular (musicians and singers).

Here are some interesting stats from the report:

  • Top five creative occupations: musicians and singers; photographers, writers and authors; graphic designers; PR specialists.
  • Most creative zip codes: 55419 and 55414.
  • The average metro area creative worker earns $19.30 an hour – below the metro area average of $22.48.
  • The best paid creative workers are PR and fundraising managers, who make $49.71 and $52.85 an hour, respectively.
  • More than $285 million was generated by creative nonprofits in 2015.

Here's a breakdown of where the money is being generated:

Industry still underrepresented

While the creative sector appears to be booming, the study found there is a lower proportion of black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American workers in the industry.

Sam Babatunde Ero-Phillips, an architect who was interviewed for the study, said better education for minority communities is needed to address these disparities.

"I see a big parallel between the achievement gap and lack of black designers in Minnesota," he says. "The biggest systemic hurdle is not investing in education for black and brown communities.

"You need a lot of schooling to become an architect. You need an undergraduate degree to be an intern, a masters to be a registered architect, and then a certain amount of hours and experience to get licensed as an architect. Younger folks hear all the barriers and they ask, 'Why would I go into architecture?'"

Paola Sánchez-Garrett, who works with Ero-Phillips at all-black architecture firm 4RM + ULA, says workers of color, particularly those who don't have English as their first language, also find it more difficult to convince employers they're capable.

"Big companies that have big projects want you to demonstrate experience, but you have to hire us to give us the opportunity to get the experience," Sánchez-Garrett said. "It’s a challenge every day because we have to demonstrate that we’re good enough to design, to manage big projects."

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