03/28/2011 04:05 pm ET Updated May 28, 2011

New York Cultural Think Tank's Artist-Counting Conundrum

It would be easier to count up all the squirrels in New York City than the artists who live here. But that's not stopping a new cultural think tank, the Institute for Culture in the Service of Community Sustainability, from trying.

In 2008, the New York City Occupational Employment Statistics, provided to The Wall Street Journal by the state's Department of Labor, officially tallied 1,200 fine artists, 1,470 dancers and 5,820 actors. But these numbers, and others used by city policy makers, constitute a gross underestimation, according to the ICSCS.