By the Numbers: How the Arts Benefit National & Local Economies

Music and art lovers can tell you how good listening to a favorite piece of music can make them feel, or how fun it is to enjoy a concert with friends and family. Inside the Orchestra knows that music and the arts are important for a number of reasons and has written about how music and the arts can help manage stress, boost self-esteem, bridge education gaps, develop emotional intelligence, build cultural competency, and also aid brain development in children. But did you know, in addition to all the other benefits music and the arts brings to our lives, that the arts are one of the top contributors to our national and local economy? It’s true!

According to Americans for the Arts, the arts and cultural industries contribute 4.23%, or $704.2 billion, to the nation’s GDP. In contrast to U.S. goods and services as a whole, the arts and cultural industries yield a trade surplus of $24 billion and support 4.7 million jobs nationwide.

U.S. Representative Louise M. Slaughter, the co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, stated recently that every dollar the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) spends, the US Treasury gets $9 – $10 in return.  The NEA is an independent agency of the U.S. government that offers funding support for artistic projects and programs across the country. The NEA also provides funds to state arts councils, including Colorado Creative Industries, which focuses on cultivating Colorado’s “Creative Economy.

Colorado recognizes the value of the arts and takes the business of them so seriously that there are numerous organizations dedicated to advancing the state’s creative economy. The Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA), connects businesses with the arts and provides training for arts leaders. The CBCA also conducts research on just how much Colorado benefits from its creative economy.

A CBCA 2016 Economic Activity Study measured the impact of the arts on metro Denver and showed the cultural community’s continued impact on injecting new money into the region’s economy, creating jobs, and providing outreach into metro area schools. The study also stated that in Denver, in 2016 alone, the arts generated $1.8 billion in economic activity, provided 10,731 jobs, and served 13.9 million arts and culture attendees, including outreach to 3.9 million children. Talk about a positive impact!

The arts are important because they allow us to express ourselves, connect with others, and create or enjoy something beautiful. They provide learning opportunities for our children, as well as aid in brain development and stress-management. The arts are not only good for us emotionally, educationally, and culturally, but also benefit our local and national economies by cultivating a thriving, creative economy for all.

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