New study: Nonprofit arts & culture sector brings billions of dollars into North Carolina

From the N.C. Dept. of Natural & Cultural Resources:

Study Shows N.C. Nonprofit Arts & Culture Sector is a $2.12 billion industry

Raleigh, N.C. –  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.  

The study, “Arts & Economic Prosperity 5: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences in North Carolina” (APE5), is conducted every five years and is issued by Americans for the Arts in partnership with nonprofit arts and culture organizations in 20 states. 

Not only do the arts fuel the mind and spirit, they fuel our economy,” Governor Roy Cooper says. “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.”

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.

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 person 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.
  • All 100 North Carolina counties participated in the study.

Note:  Audience spending does not include the cost of admissions.

Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources says, “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.” 

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.

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,” says Wayne Martin, executive director of the N.C. Arts Council. “Arts for all citizens, the founding ideal for the Arts Council in 1967, has clearly fostered economic success and broadened public access to the arts across our state.”

For more information about the study in North Carolina visit

About Max Hunt
Max Hunt grew up in South (New) Jersey and graduated from Warren Wilson College in 2011. History nerd; art geek; connoisseur of swimming holes, hot peppers, and plaid clothing. Follow me @J_MaxHunt

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