For Immediate Release
March 14, 2018

Contact: Steve Wilcox
[email protected]

New Report: Arts and Culture Contribute $9 Billion to Arizona’s Economy
New Findings Released on Economic Impact of Arts

According to new data released on March 6, 2018, by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Arizona’s arts and culture industries contribute $9 Billion to the state’s economy, employing 90,000 Arizonans who earned a combined $4.9 Billion in Fiscal Year 2015, contributing more to the State’s economy than mining, agriculture, and forestry combined.

Nationally, the arts contribute $763.6 billion to the U.S. economy, more than agriculture, transportation, or warehousing, and employ 4.9 million workers across the country.

Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account

Produced by the BEA and NEA, the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA) tracks the annual economic impact of arts and cultural production, both commercial and nonprofit, nationally and at the state level. The ACPSA reports on the total market value of goods and services as a contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) as well as employment and compensation for 35 key industries within the arts and cultural economy.

The numbers in this report are from 2015, the most recent reporting year.

Arizona Leads in Arts-related Retail

Arts-related retail trade, one of the 35 industries tracked by ACPSA, is a particularly powerful contributor to Arizona’s economy.

In 2015, arts‐related retail trade, such as that represented by the art galleries of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson, as well as those in smaller, arts-centered communities like Sedona, Bisbee, and Jerome, contributed nearly $1.6 billion to Arizona’s economy. Adjusted for the state’s economic footprint, this figure is 88 percent greater than the national index.

Arizona and National Comparisons

The data show Arizona trailing its national and regional peers in other key areas.

In 2015, the total market value of Arizona’s arts and cultural industries was 28 percent below the national average, ranking 23rd among all states. Arizona ranks 20th in ACPSA employment and 22nd in compensation.

A separate report published in February 2018 by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, ranked the State of Arizona 42nd in per capita spending on the arts.

“Newly-released data show what those of us who work in Arizona’s arts sector already know: our sector’s potential to positively contribute to the health and vibrancy of local and state economies is tremendous, and that our capacity to contribute can be strengthened with focused investment,” said Jaime Dempsey, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona that administers the state’s funding for the arts. “Public funding for the arts is only one factor in the equation, but it’s an especially important element of support in a young state that has yet to develop the tradition of private and corporate support that are so important to arts and culture sectors in older states.”

Key Take-aways

“This report is an important addition to a growing body of research that shows that arts and culture are fundamental to a healthy and thriving economy,” said Mark Feldman, Chair of the Governor-appointed board of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Feldman cites the following three take-aways for Arizona business leaders and policy makers at the state and city level:

  • Arts and culture activities form a solid foundation for key drivers in today’s economy, namely creativity and innovation, strengthening our economic resilience, and helping to prepare tomorrow’s workforce.
  • Arts and culture organizations represent an important and growing economic sector and contribute to Arizona’s significant tourism economy.
  • Arts and culture investments pay dividends to our tax base, our businesses, and the quality of our lives.

Explore the Data

Alongside the release of the new data, the NEA, BEA, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies published resources to help users navigate the data.

About the Arizona Commission on the Arts

One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is a 51-year-old agency of the State of Arizona and a leading force in the creative and professional development of Arizona’s arts sector. Through robust programs, research initiatives, and strategic grantmaking, the Arts Commission catalyzes arts-based partnerships that strengthen Arizona communities through the arts.

We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts.

# # #

For more information on the Arizona Commission on the Arts, visit or contact Steve Wilcox, Communications Director, Arizona Commission on the Arts, at (602) 771-6536 or [email protected].

To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact the Arts Commission offices at (602) 771-6502.

Images available upon request.