Data Collection for Sixth National Study of Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry Set to Begin May 1

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Americans for the Arts logo

Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce the launch of Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), the sixth national study of the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry. Building on its 25-year legacy, AEP6 will examine the economic power that the arts and culture wield in 387 participating communities representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each community will receive a customized economic impact report about the number of jobs supported, government revenue generated, and economic activity of its nonprofit arts and culture sector.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity® series demonstrates that an investment in the arts provides both cultural and economic benefits. Previous studies were published in 1994, 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017. In 2017, AEP5 documented that the nonprofit arts industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity (spending by organizations plus the event-related spending by their audiences), which supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in government revenue.

Americans for the Arts is committed to addressing equity and inclusion as a critical component of the methodology, organizational participation, and collection of data for AEP6 by centering and representing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying communities—a segment of the nonprofit arts and culture sector that has been underrepresented in past studies. Americans for the Arts uses the terms BIPOC and ALAANA to represent People of Color and Communities of Color. Additional terminology used related to the organization’s work can be found in this language bank.

For the first time, AEP6 will require that the local and state research partners collect a portion of audience surveys from attendees at events hosted by arts and culture organizations that primarily serve communities of color. The AEP6 study will establish a benchmark of arts and culture organizations that primarily serve communities of color, and the audiences that attend their events. It will also identify organizations that have a chief executive who identifies as BIPOC/ALAANA. Researchers will use this data to calculate and report on the economic impact of the BIPOC/ALAANA arts sector in each of the participating communities.

To bolster this work, Americans for the Arts welcomes Dr. Genna A. Styles-Lyas as Director of AEP6 Community Engagement & Equity, who will support local and state research partners in engaging BIPOC/ALAANA organizations, managing local research, creating training opportunities, and evaluating progress. Miles Partnership serves as the AEP6 equity consultant to support Americans for the Arts’ commitment to centering diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility into the project methodology. The AEP6 Equity Task Force was created to guide the development and implementation of an equity framework—members include AEP6 research partners, individuals representing the BIPOC/ALAANA organizations that will be surveyed, funders, researchers, and other arts leaders.

“Centering equity and inclusion across all the Americans for the Arts program areas is a priority for our organization. I am very pleased that AEP6 makes a significant expansion beyond its five previous iterations over the past 25 years by centering equity and inclusion and focusing on identifying a more diverse landscape of what the arts and culture industry truly looks like. The data from AEP6 will provide an accurate picture and allow decision-makers to create stronger policy and irreversible momentum towards diversity, equity, and inclusion,” commented Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.

Suzan Jenkins, chief executive officer of the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County and member of the AEP6 Equity Task Force, said, “As a long-time participant in the Arts and Economic Prosperity studies, our agency has utilized the AEP survey results and achieved dynamic and sustained fiscal and philosophical legislative support for our advocacy efforts for more than a decade. The new AEP6 study promises to produce even more valuable results for participants nationwide and we eagerly anticipate learning how the new equity framework will support traditionally marginalized communities and inform future arts policy and funding.”

Audience-intercept surveys will be collected from attendees to arts events in each participating community from May 2022 through April 2023—the national sample is anticipated to surpass 250,000 surveys. A survey of nonprofit arts and culture organizations will occur from January through April 2023. The national findings, as well as the results for each of the 387 participating communities, will be made public in September 2023.

Americans for the Arts extends its appreciation to The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts for its support of AEP6.

Americans for the Arts is a national arts service organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1960, it serves, advances, and provides leadership to the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts and arts education in America. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for everyone to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at