Nonprofit Arts & Culture Sector Generates $2.12 Billion

A study released today by Americans for the Arts, in partnership with the North Carolina Arts Council, shows that the nonprofit arts and culture sector in North Carolina generated $2.12 billion in direct economic activity and supported almost 72,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2015.
“Not only do the arts fuel the mind and spirit, they fuel our economy,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “This study confirms that the arts bring jobs, income and visitors to North Carolina, and underscores the important role the North Carolina Arts Council plays in nurturing our creative economy.”
Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 in North Carolina at a Glance:
• The nonprofit arts and culture sector generates $201.5 million in revenue for local governments and the State of North Carolina
• The nonprofit arts and culture sector supports almost 72,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
• Audiences spent more than $1.18 billion in 2015, with each in-state resident spending an average of $27.95 in the community.
• Out-of-state attendees spent an average of $61.86 per person.
• A total of 109,525 volunteers donated 4.6 million hours to the nonprofit arts and cultural organizations that participated in the study, representing an estimated value of $108,772,044.
• Data from most of North Carolina’s 100 counties was collected from nonprofit organization profiles or audience participation surveys.
Note: Audience spending does not include the cost of admissions.
Susi Hamilton, Secretary of Natural and Cultural Resources said, “The N.C. Arts Council has used the arts as a tool in both rural and urban areas to meet the needs of our communities over the last five decades with impressive results. This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation.” North Carolina’s nonprofit arts and culture sector includes almost 2,500 organizations with more than half participating in the study.
“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.”
The study, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences in North Carolina (AEP 5) is conducted every five years and is issued by Americans for the Arts in partnership with nonprofit arts and culture organizations in 20 states that were part of 341 study regions across the U.S.
Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 National Impact at a Glance:
• Nationwide AEP 5 documented the nonprofit arts industry produces $166.3 billion in economic activity every year.
• The national nonprofit arts and culture industry supports 4.6 million full-time equivalent jobs.
• Nonprofit arts and culture organizations return $27.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.
The N.C. Arts Council sponsored the statewide study and seven regional studies. Custom reports were conducted by 24 counties and seven municipalities in the state. For more information about the study in North Carolina visit
About the North Carolina Arts Council: The North Carolina Arts Council launched its work in 1967 as part of a national movement inspired by the concept of “arts for all citizens.” In its first 50 years as a state agency, the Arts Council has supported the arts as a catalyst for job creation, downtown revitalization, arts-based tourism and student success both within and outside of the classroom. With almost 2,500 nonprofit arts organizations, including a network of local arts councils that reaches into all 100 counties of our state, the nonprofit arts industry generates $2.12 billion in direct economic activity for North Carolina.