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Life Arts    H3'ed 2/23/09

Non-profit Arts Stimulate National & Local Economies

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Finally! A US president recognizes the positive impact of the arts on our nation’s economy. “Innovation” and “creativity” were welcome words in President Obama’s speech in Denver. Unfortunately, not everyone gets the picture, from elected officials to puzzled citizens. The $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in Obama’s Stimulus Package is not “pork”, as some claim. In addition to improving quality of life and providing needed “stimulus” to creatively keep our world functional, thriving arts have a positive, measurable economic impact on communities.

America’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity yearly—$63.1 billion in spending by organizations, an additional $103.1 billion in event-related audience expenditure. This economic activity supports 5.7 million jobs and $29.6 billion in increased government revenue. Yearly. Between 2000 and 2005, event-related spending by arts audiences increased 28%— from $80.8 billion to $103.1 billion. Documented fact, it’s not chump change nor “pork”. Want to review the economic impact of event-related spending by arts audiences? Check out the Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Prosperity Calculator:

When you attend an arts event, you’re ‘stimulating’ the economy and supporting local arts organizations and artists. Thank you, President Obama, for understanding.

Data sourced from 45 year old non-profit arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts, from an independent study quantifying the impact of the non-profit arts industry on the US economy:

Freelance arts journalist Alexandra Bonifield is a NEA/ Annenberg Fellow in theatre criticism and contributes regularly to THE Magazine,, and Dallas’
She blogs at
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Freelance writer, arts advocate and NEA Fellow in theatre criticism, progressive activist and independent blue-stocking, loves Guinness and strong coffee, early sunrise in the Sierras, most 4-leggeds; will work and pray for Sustainability & Peace....
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