North Carolina’s nonprofit arts & culture sector delivered $2.23 billion in economic and social impact in 2022
Increase in economic impact was a bright spot in the nation.

Author: North Carolina Arts Council


The North Carolina Arts Council today announced that North Carolina’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $2.23 billion in economic activity in 2022. According to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), an economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts, investments by arts organizations and arts agencies were a key driver of the arts sector’s resurgence after several challenging years.

The AEP6 study revealed growth of five percent in overall economic impact since 2015, reflecting the extraordinary efforts by North Carolina’s arts agencies, organizations, and state and local governments to raise and distribute funds to support the arts during and post COVID-19. The North Carolina arts sector was a bright spot in the nation, which saw a decline of more than seven percent in overall economic impact, from $166.3 billion to $151.7 billion.

That $2.23 billion in statewide economic activity includes:

•    $1.05 billion in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations
•    $1.18 billion in event-related spending by their audiences
•    38,000 full-time jobs
•    $439 million in local, state, and federal government revenue

“The arts not only bring enjoyment and better quality of life, they bring a real boost to our economy,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Thanks to the North Carolina Arts Council’s work to support our talented artists, our state is a stronger, more vibrant place.”

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study shows the huge economic impact that the arts have on our state,” said Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Reid Wilson. “From arts education in schools to support for local arts organizations, we will continue promoting the arts for the benefit of all North Carolinians.” 

“Our agency’s mission is ‘Arts for All,’ and that was never clearer than during the last few years. We worked with a historic number of arts organizations and artists in all 100 counties, because the arts sector was one of the hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Jeff Bell, Executive Director of the N.C. Arts Council.  “There really isn’t a better feeling than knowing support of the arts contributes to our state’s economic vibrancy, as well as making our communities better places to work, live, and visit.”

About AEP6
More than 1,000 North Carolina nonprofit arts and culture organizations provided financial and audience information about their 2022 expenditures and activities. Study data also included behavior and spending data from more than 18,000 attendees to nonprofit arts and culture events from May 2022 to June 2023.

The AEP6 study prioritized equity, community engagement, and inclusivity. With the goal of reducing systemic bias, Americans for the Arts transformed its approach and expanded the inclusion and participation of organizations serving or representing BIPOC- (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA- (African, Latine, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying communities.

Nationally, the study showed that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $151.7 billion industry—one that supports 2.6 million jobs and generates $29.1 billion in government revenue.


About the North Carolina Arts Council
The North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The N.C. Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.23 billion in annual direct economic activity. We sustain diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The N.C. Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education.

About American for the Arts
The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. It was supported by The Ruth Lilly Endowment Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts' 297 study partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study, visit

Media Contact
Diana Pineda
Director of Marketing, North Carolina Arts Council