NASAA Notes: June 2023

June 7, 2023

Building Thriving Communities and Economies through the Arts

My colleagues and I at the 2023 Cities Summit of the Americas in Denver, Colorado

During recent speaking engagements at the Cities Summit of the Americas, the California Arts & Culture Summit and a Pennsylvania Council for the Arts webinar, I’ve highlighted data from the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account and discussed the ongoing need to articulate the contributions of the arts to state economies. The National Endowment for the Arts’s work with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to create and disseminate these important data perennially benefits state and jurisdictional arts agency policy, advocacy and program strategies. Here are a few recent reflections that you can keep in mind when talking about the economic value of the arts.

  • Arts and culture contribute over $1 trillion to the American economy, which is more than either the construction industry or the transportation industry. This straightforward and easy to remember fact cannot be repeated enough.
  • The economic value of the arts continues to be persuasive to legislators regardless of political ideology. NASAA’s messaging research confirms that communicating about economics remains an advocacy priority.
  • There’s no one correct way to understand state and local creative economies. Nearly every state arts agency conducts research about the economic value of the arts. You can browse the variety of approaches in NASAA’s Interactive Database of State Creative Economy Studies.
  • Research confirms that the arts can improve—not merely reflect—the health of the broader economy and can help economies rapidly recover from economic downturns. Many organizations and artists continue to struggle postpandemic. However, 2021 data show the U.S. arts economy grew 4% faster in 2021 than overall gross domestic product. Although this doesn’t mean that all portions of the creative economy are in good shape, the sector is proving to be an important part of recovery.
  • Having data, research and knowledge is vital. But these data exist in the abstract unless you can tell the story of your community and how you see creatives, artists, creative businesses, arts organizations and partnerships making a difference in people’s lives. Building on data, stories and understanding leads to tangible outcomes for community residents.

We hope that you continue to use all of the NASAA and other resources at your disposal to further your understanding of creative economic and community development. The NASAA team is ready to assist with data, planning and strategy discussions for SAAs continuing to build thriving communities through the arts.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




To receive information regarding updates to our newslettter. Please fill out the form below.