Study Also Reveals Significant Role Cultural Tourism Plays in Fueling Local Economies

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, today announced the findings from Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™,  the fourth economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences. The largest and most comprehensive of its kind ever conducted, it shows that the arts industry continued to serve as an economic engine, pumping billions of dollars into the nation's economy, despite the economic headwinds the country faced in 2010 when the study was conducted.

Economic Impact Table (Image)

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According to the study, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $135.2 billion dollars of economic activity—$61.1 billion in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations, plus an additional $74.1 billion in spending by their audiences. This economic activity had a significant impact on the nation's economy, supporting 4.1 million full-time equivalent jobs, and generating $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state and federal governments—a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts appropriations.

"Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™ reveals the vital role played by the nonprofit arts and culture industry in strengthening the nation's economy," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "This study proves that the arts are a key component of our nation's economic recovery and future prosperity and an industry that supports jobs, generates significant government revenue and sustains local businesses."

Economic Impact Table (Image)

Impact of Great Recession

Like most industries, the Great Recession left a measurable financial impact on the arts—erasing the gains made during the pre-recession years. But even in the face of an extremely challenging fiscal environment, 2010 expenditures by arts organizations were just three percent behind their 2005 levels ($61.1 billion vs. $63.1 billion)1.

The recession, as expected, also had an impact on consumer spending. Inevitably, as people worried about losing their jobs and their houses, attendance at arts events waned in some communities—just like other discretionary spending outlets such as attendance at sports events and leisure travel. As a result, spending by the typical arts patron dropped 11 percent from 2005 to 2010. Still, arts audiences spent $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission2 in 2010.

"These figures are remarkable given the economic climate that was present when the study was conducted," said Lynch." Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™ definitively demonstrates the resilience of America's arts industry. Throughout the recession, the arts sector continued to produce new and exciting work—performances and exhibitions and festivals that entertained, inspired and drew audiences. As the economy rebounds in the coming years, the arts industry is well poised for growth."




Impact of Cultural Tourism

Average Per Person Audience Expenditures: $24.60

Tourism industry research has consistently shown that arts tourists stay longer and spend more than the average traveler. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™ results reflect this principle. Among those audience members surveyed, 32 percent live outside the county in which the arts event took place. And, their event-related spending is more than twice that of their local counterparts ($39.96 vs. $17.42). While these figures are declines from the previous study—39 percent of attendees were nonlocal in the 2005 study and spent $40.19 on average—the point remains: communities that draw cultural tourists experience an additional boost of economic activity that further propels local economic engines.

"Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™ proves that the arts and the cultural tourists that flock to them are good for the economy," explains Lynch, who also serves on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. "The arts are magnets for tourists, and local businesses reap the financial rewards of the increased spending they bring to local economies. Simply put, the arts and culture industry is a cornerstone of tourism and economic development in America."

1 Figures based on data from 9,721 nonprofit arts and culture organizations from 182 communities and regions (139 cities and counties, 31 multi-county or multi-city regions, 10 states and two arts districts), representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The diverse communities range in population from 1,600 to 4 million and from small rural to large urban.

2 Figures are calculated using 151,802 audience-intercept surveys conducted for Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at