What is Arts & Economic Prosperity 6?

The newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) is an economic and social impact study of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. Building on its 30-year legacy as the largest and most inclusive study of its kind, AEP6 provides detailed findings on 373 regions from across all 50 states and Puerto Rico—ranging in population from 4,000 to 4 million—and representing rural, suburban, and large urban communities.

In 2022, nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences generated $151.7 billion in economic activity—$73.3 billion in spending by the organizations, which leveraged an additional $78.4 billion in event-related spending by their audiences. The impact of this economic activity is far reaching, supporting 2.6 million jobs, generating $29.1 billion in tax revenue, and providing $101 billion in personal income to residents. AEP6 sends a strong signal that when we support the arts, we are investing in both economic and community well-being.


Deep dive and download reports of our national, local and state study regions arts and culture economic impact findings.



Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) is an economic and social impact study of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry.
Nationally, the sector generated $151.7 billion of economic activity in 2022 $73.3 billion in spending by arts and culture organizations and an additional $78.4 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences. That economic activity supported 2.6 million jobs, provided $101 billion in personal income to residents, and generated $29.1 billion in tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments.

Nonprofit arts and culture organizations are businesses.
They employ people locally, purchase supplies and services from nearby businesses, and engage in the marketing and promotion of their cities and regions. Their very act of doing business— creating, presenting, exhibiting, engaging—has a positive economic impact and improves community well-being. Nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent an estimated $73.3 billion which supported 1.6 million jobs and generated $18.3 billion in local, state, and federal government revenue.

Arts and culture drives commerce to local businesses.
When people attend a cultural event, they often make an outing of it—dining at a restaurant, paying for parking or public transportation, enjoying dessert after the show, and returning home to pay for child or pet care. Attendees at nonprofit arts and culture events spend $38.46 per person per event, beyond the cost of admission—vital income for local merchants and a value-add that few industries can compete with.

Arts and culture strengthens the visitor economy.
One-third (30.1%) of attendees travel from outside the county in which the activity takes place; they spend an average of $60.57, twice that of their local counterparts ($29.77). Three-quarters (77%) of nonlocal attendees reported that the primary purpose of their visit was to attend that cultural event.

A vibrant arts and culture community keeps residents spending locally.
When local attendees to nonprofit arts and culture events were asked what they would have done if the event where they were surveyed had not been available, 51% said they would have “traveled to a different community to attend a similar arts or cultural activity.”

Spending by attendees to BIPOC and ALAANA events reflect national spending.
Attendees at organizations serving a community of color spend an average of $38.29 per person per event— virtually identical to the overall national average of $38.46. Attendees to BIPOC and ALAANA events from outside the county represented 27.8% of the audiences (nationally it was 30.1%). Even the spending by nonlocal attendees to BIPOC and ALAANA organizations was nearly identical to the national average ($58.98 and $60.57, respectively).

Pride in community.
89% of attendees agreed that the activity or venue they were attending was “a source of neighborhood pride for the community.” 86% said they would “feel a sense of loss if that activity or venue was no longer available,” and 86% felt it important that future generations also be able to have that cultural experience.

Arts and culture builds more livable communities.
86% of Americans say, “arts and culture are important to their community’s quality of life and livability,” and 79% of the American public believe that the arts are “important to their community’s businesses, economy, and local jobs.”

Improving personal well-being.
78% of the population say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world,” 69% of the population believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” and 71% feel the arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in.”

Building empathy and understanding.
72% of Americans believe, “The arts provide shared experiences with people of different races, ethnicities, ages, beliefs, and identities (gender, political, national origin),” and 73% agree that the arts “helps me understand other cultures better.”

Post-COVID audiences spent more, traveled less.
Nationally, per person event-related spending increased from $31.47 to $38.46 in the years between AEP5 and AEP6 (2016 and 2022)—a 22% increase, matching the rate of inflation during that period. The percentage of nonlocal attendees (coming from outside the county in which the event took place) decreased from 34% in AEP5 to 30% in AEP6 (-11.5%).

Arts sparks creativity and innovation.
“Creativity” is among the top five applied skills sought by business leaders—per the Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate report—with 72% saying creativity is of “high importance” when hiring. For the second year in a row, “creativity” tops the list as the #1 soft skill needed in business (LinkedIn).


Americans for the Arts is excited to release a series of resources and best practices to support your needs. Together, let’s work to be more proactive in talking about the good work that arts and culture does in our communities.