Americans for the Arts – Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 Survey

Morris Arts is one of 394 arts and culture organizations selected to survey the economic impact of the arts and culture on our economy in Morris County in partnership with Morris County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC). “The Economic Impact of the Arts is often understated. We are excited to be a part of a partnership and study which allows us to better understand the economic impact of the arts and how we can best leverage our existing assets to drive the continued economic growth of Morris County,” stated Craig Schlosser, Vice President, MCEDC.

The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts & Cultural Organizations & Their Audiences

Creating Jobs. Generating Commerce. Increasing Revenue.

From coast to coast and from our smallest rural towns to our largest urban cities, America’s 120,000 nonprofit arts and culture organizations make their communities more desirable places to live and work every day of the year. The arts beautify our downtowns, unify our communities, make us feel creative in the workplace, and infuse our lives with joy. Arts organizations are also businesses. They attract audiences, spur business development, support jobs, generate government revenue, and are the cornerstone of tourism.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) is an economic impact study of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. It is the largest and most inclusive study of its kind ever conducted, with a specific focus on 394 participating communities from across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

The arts are a much bigger industry than most people realize. In 2017, AEP5 documented that the nonprofit arts industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity (spending by organizations plus the event-related spending by their audiences) which supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in government revenue. AEP demonstrates that an investment in the arts provides both cultural and economic benefits.

Nonprofit arts and culture organizations are businesses. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from within the community, are members of their chambers of commerce, and attract tourists to their regions.

The arts drive commerce to local businesses. The arts, unlike most industries, leverage significant amounts of event-related spending by their audiences. In 2017, arts attendees spent $31.47 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and lodging—vital income for local businesses.

Arts travelers are ideal tourists. They stay longer and spend more to seek out authentic cultural experiences. One-third of attendees travel from outside the county in which the activity takes place and spend an average of $48 per person. Why are they visiting? 69% say they traveled specifically to attend the activity.

Small investments. Big returns. In 2017, the combined $5 billion in direct arts funding by local, state, and federal governments yielded $27.5 billion in government revenue: $6.9 billion to local governments, $7.7 billion to state governments, and $12.9 billion in federal government revenue.

Centering Equity and Inclusion in AEP6

Americans for the Arts is committed to addressing equity and inclusion as a critical component of the methodology, organizational participation, and collection of data for AEP6 by centering and representing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying communities—a segment of the nonprofit arts and culture sector that has been underrepresented in past studies. This transformation includes a full shake-out of the methodology to reduce systemic bias, establishing a new local, state, and national partnership model, and new community engagement strategies.

Join Morris Arts in counting our community.  In partnership with Morris County’s Arts and Cultural organizations, we will survey audiences at their events to add our local story to the larger national picture. To join Morris Arts in surveying your audiences conact Jody Marcus at

To learn more about Americans for the Arts and the AEP6 survey detail visit  Arts & Economic Prosperity 6.

About Americans for the Arts: Americans for the Arts is a nonprofit organization that advances the arts and arts education advocacy in America. Based in Washington, D.C., it has a record of more than 60 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for everyone to participate in and
appreciate all forms of the arts.


The Morris County Economic Development Corporation, a division of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, is a partnership of business and government dedicated to growing the economy of Morris County, New Jersey through programs and services that result in business attraction, creation, retention and expansion.