Arts and Economic Recovery Research


In light of the current challenges facing the U.S. economy—unprecedented in many ways—the need to better understand the role of the arts sector has never been more acute. To do so, NASAA spearheaded a research effort in collaboration with Prof. Douglas S. Noonan of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Western States Arts Federation.

This collaborative research effort provides further evidence that arts and creative industries offer a powerful strategy for states and localities aiming to reignite economic growth. In addition to the healing value of the arts to communities and individuals, the arts have proven economic value and offer vital economic development strategies for diversifying and stimulating local economies in all types of communities.

Two recent articles highlight this research, providing a perspective that is particularly informative to elected officials, policymakers and community leaders:

  • To Accelerate Our Economic Recovery, Look to the Arts, by former New Orleans Mayor and former Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu and NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux, appeared in Governing in May 2021. It tells the story of how the creative sector catalyzed economic recovery in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
  • Creativity Sparks Economic Renewal, by Montana Arts Council Chair and Bozeman Mayor Cyndy Andrus, was posted by the National League of Cities in September 2021. This article outlines how the arts contribute to the economies of growing micropolitan areas.

The Arts And Culture Sector’s Contributions to Economic Recovery and Resiliency in the United States

Key FindingsReport cover. Go to report key findings.

Highlights from an empirical study by Douglas S. Noonan, professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, that explores how the arts economy fares through economic downturns and its influence on economic trends

Technical Report

A companion report that describes the statistical methods used to conduct this analysis and shows the relationships observed between the arts, gross state products, employment and compensation trends

Creative Economies and Economic Recovery

Key Findings

Salient themes from a suite of case studies conducted by the Western States Arts Federation illustrating how the arts have contributed to economic turnarounds in distressed communities

Case Studies of Arts-Led Economic Recovery and Resilience

Report cover. Go to case studies.

Offering complete case studies and economic data compiled through Creative Vitality Suite®, this report examines communities in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia, revealing how the arts are a springboard for local economic growth.