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 economic impact of the arts

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The effect of arts programs on a community are more than aesthetic. A vibrant arts community can increase sales 
and property values.

Getting the message across: "The arts mean business"



Here are links to various economic impact studies in the U.S., Canada and abroad.

Do-It-Yourself Economic Impact Statement

The Americans for the Arts' Economic Prosperity Calculator lets you estimate the economic impact of your organization--or even your entire nonprofit arts community.


The Arts & Economic Prosperity

Americans for the Arts released a study in 2002 to document the economic impact of the nonprofit arts industry in 91 communities during 2000-2001. Below is a summary.

Economic Impact of America’s Nonprofit Arts Industry

Arts & Economic Prosperity: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts Organizations and Their Audiences, was released on June 10, 2002 by American for the Arts. It reveals that America's nonprofit arts industry generates $134 billion in economic activity every year, including $24.4 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues. The $134 billion total includes $53.2 billion in spending by arts organizations and $80.8 billion in event-related spending by arts audiences:

  • The $53.2 billion represents a 45 percent increase (from $36.8 billion) since 1992, when Americans for the Arts last studied spending by arts organizations.

  • The $80.8 billion in event-related spending by arts audiences reflects an average of $22.87 per person in spending for hotels, restaurants, parking, souvenirs, refreshments, or other similar costs-with non-local attendees spending nearly twice as much as local attendees ($38.05 compared to $21.75).

The $134 billion in total economic activity has a significant national impact, generating the following:

  • 4.85 million full-time equivalent jobs

  • $89.4 billion in household income

  • $6.6 billion in local government tax revenues

  • $7.3 billion in state government tax revenues

  • $10.5 billion in federal income tax revenues

The most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts industry ever conducted, it is based on surveys of 3,000 nonprofit arts organizations and more than 40,000 attendees at arts events in 91 cities in 33 states, plus the District of Columbia. The study was funded by the American Express Company, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the 91 Community Partners.


From major metropolitan areas to small rural towns, this research shows that the nonprofit arts are an economically sound investment. They attract audiences, spur business development, support jobs, and generate government revenue. Locally, as well as nationally, the arts mean business.


Copies of the full report can be found on the Americans for the Arts website at http://www.americansforthearts.org/



Measuring Your Arts Economy: Twelve Questions and Answers about Economic Impact Studies. A practical guide that helps arts organizations plan their studies strategically, explains the basic concepts central to economic impact research, and offers advice for choosing good consultants or working partners. Measuring Your Arts Economy also pays special attention to effective communications strategies that arts organizations have used to promote their findings and spread good news about the arts. $18 from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA)


The Value of the Performing Arts in Five Communities: A Comparison of 2002 Household Survey Data.  A publication from the Performing Arts Research Coalition (PARC), a groundbreaking collaborative project created to improve and coordinate the way performing arts organizations gather information on our sector, so that we can offer a more unified and factually based voice on issues of common concern, and aid the performing arts in developing a national model for arts research collaboration. Click here for more information.


South East Theatre Conference's Advocacy Resource List









Massachusetts (see New England)




Impact Impact of Montana Artists

New England

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