How Much Are the Arts Worth?

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Economic Impact of the Arts Study

Arts Council Launches Study of the Economic Impact of Spending by Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences

The Arts Mean Business! That is the message being delivered today by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, in announcing it has joined the Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5 national study measuring the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences. It is the fifth study over the past 20 years to measure the impact of arts spending on local jobs, income paid to local residents, and revenue generated to local and state governments.

The national research study is being conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s nonprofit organization advancing the arts and arts education. The results of the study will be released in June of 2017 and will be a valuable tool to demonstrate the economic impact of the arts in Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa. This will be the largest and most comprehensive survey undertaken to date.

The Hillsborough County Economic Development Department and the Gobioff Foundation have partnered with the Arts Council to fund the study.

Data collection will begin in early 2016 and during that time financial and economic information from local nonprofit arts, culture, humanities and heritage organizations will be collected. The Arts Council will also collect surveys from attendees at art and cultural events throughout calendar year 2016 using a short, anonymous questionnaire that asks how much money they spent on items such as meals, parking and transportation, and retail shopping specifically as a result of attending the event.

Previous studies have shown that the average attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission. Those studies have also shown that, on average, 32 percent of arts attendees travel from outside the county in which the arts event took place, and that those cultural tourists typically spend nearly $40 per person—generating important revenue for local businesses and demonstrating how the arts drive revenue for other businesses in the community.

“Many people don’t think of nonprofit arts organizations as businesses,” said Art Keeble, executive director of the Arts Council, “but this study will make clear that the arts are a formidable industry in our community—employing people locally, purchasing goods and services from local merchants, and helping to drive tourism and economic development.”

Nearly 300 arts organizations across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have partnered with Americans for the Arts. Detailed data is being collected in the partner communities from audiences and nonprofit arts and culture organizations such as theater and dance companies, museums, festivals, and arts education organizations. See the list of Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study partners by visiting

Economic Impact of the Arts Study Partners