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United Arts Council

Nonprofit Arts Industry Generates $557 Million in Economic Impact


[Raleigh, N.C.] —Wake County’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates more than $557 million in annual economic activity — supporting 19,873 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $56,205,000 in  local and state government revenues, the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County announced today.

The findings are from a national impact study, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts. In this study of fiscal year 2015, the nonprofit arts and culture industry is comprised of organizations and their audiences.

"The arts are an incredible asset in Wake County that bring value to the community and our economic development. This study shows significant growth of the nonprofit arts sector over the last five years. Everyone in Wake County benefits from that growth; it is tangible, and we need to continue finding ways to highlight the contributions of the arts," says area businessman Milo Brunick, chair of the United Arts Council Board of Directors.

The new study is part of the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofits arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States – led by Americans for the Arts in partnership with nonprofit arts and culture organizations across the nation.

According to the study, nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Wake County spent $179,146,269 during fiscal year 2015. This direct spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated $167,244,000 in household income for local residents and $15,784,000 in local and state government revenues.

The nonprofit arts and culture sector in North Carolina generates $2.12 billion in direct economic impact, supports almost 72,000 full-time equivalent jobs and creates $201.5 million in revenue for local and state government. Audiences spent more than $1.18 billion participating in arts and culture activities in North Carolina.

“For 50 years the North Carolina Arts Council has been guided by the belief that the arts uplift individuals, transform our communities and enhance the reputation of our state,” Wayne Martin, Executive Director of the N.C. Arts Council said. “’Arts for all citizens,’ the founding ideal for the Arts Council in 1967, has clearly fostered economic success and public participation in the arts across our state.”

Arts Industry Boon for Local Businesses

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages an annual $378,008,208 in event-related spending by its audiences. As a result of attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. What’s more, attendees from out of town often stay overnight in a local hotel.

“Communities that support arts and culture create a high quality of life for their citizens while investing in an economic driver. The study results underscore the vitality and dynamism created by our nonprofit arts and culture sector. We are proud to be a part of it.” says Eleanor H. Oakley, President/CEO of the United Arts Council.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by the Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. The full text of the national statistical reports is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/EconomicImpact.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (based on data from 2015)

The United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, based in Raleigh, NC, was incorporated in 1990. Our mission is to build better communities through the support and advocacy of the arts. For the 2016/17 school year United Arts helped bring in teaching artists to 142 schools in Wake County through its Artists in Schools program. The United Arts Council also offers grants to organizations, communities and individual artists and provides services to the community such as advocacy, resource development, professional/leadership development and special projects. The grants, programs and services of United Arts reach over 1.2 million people annually in Wake County. 



PO Box 26388
Raleigh, NC 27611

Phone: (919) 839-1498
[email protected]