According to Arizonans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018, a new report on a recent national poll, Arizonans exceed the national average in how positively they view the value of arts and arts education, as well as the contributions the arts make to the workplace, tourism, and livability of their communities.

The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Americans for the Arts during the week of May 9‐16, 2018. To ensure precision in the findings, a sample of 3,023 adults were interviewed online (by way of comparison, the typical national political poll has a sample size of just 1,000 adults). Arizona was one of eight states where additional polling was conducted.

“The results of this survey tell a familiar story, one we hear daily as we work with Arizonans to ensure access to the arts for all: the arts are a vital resource, connecting us to each other, expanding our horizons, and strengthening our communities,” said Jaime Dempsey, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

“When 79% of Arizonans say the arts have a social impact and improve the livability of their community, they are speaking from personal experience. Those 80 percent of Arizonans who believe the arts help students perform better academically have likely witnessed the myriad benefits of arts-based learning in their own families. When 87% of Arizonans say the arts attract travelers and are good for tourism, it’s not an assumption, it’s an observation. Arizonans have spoken clearly here. They value the arts and believe creativity is a key ingredient in our state’s future prosperity,” she said.

Key Findings

  • 82% of Arizonans believe the arts provide meaning to their lives (73% national average).
  • 80% believe the arts help students perform better academically (74% nationally); 70% believe the arts improve healing and the healthcare experience (68% nationally), and 54% agree the arts are helpful to military personnel transitioning back to civilian life (46% nationally.)
  • Arizona residents stand out as being especially likely to agree that the arts have a social impact and improve the quality and livability of their community (79% vs. 71% nationally).
  • People in Arizona also are more likely to be personally involved in artistic activities as arts makers (63%) than American adults nationally (47%).
  • About half of adults in Arizona think federal spending per person on nonprofit arts organizations is not enough (48%), and most disapprove of government proposals to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, including 50% who strongly disapprove.
  • Arizonans also support state funding for the arts (67%) and funding from their local governments (71%). More than a third (38%) agreed they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported the arts.
  • 65% of Arizonans see the arts as part of a well-rounded education (61% nationally).
  • In Arizona, there is consensus when it comes how the arts impact tourism, with almost nine-in-ten adults in agreement that the arts attract travelers and are good for tourism (87%).


“The survey underscores that Arizonans specifically and Americans generally are highly engaged in the arts which promote personal well-being, help us understand other cultures and are key to a solid K-12 education,” said Catherine “Rusty” Foley, executive director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts. “Clearly, Arizonans also believe the state and local government has a critical role in funding the arts, and that political candidates that support the arts are more likely to earn their vote,” she added.

“This survey demonstrates numerically what those of us involved in the arts know intrinsically,” said Becky Daggett, Interim Executive Director at the Flagstaff Arts Council. “The responses from Arizonans are particularly heartening and exciting. Arizona enjoys a wealth of creative talent and a wonderful diversity of culture, thought, and artistic traditions. I count Flagstaff as one of the drivers of this creative culture!”

Cindy Ornstein, Executive Director of Mesa Arts Center and Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Mesa, agreed, emphasizing that the response is particularly compelling “in times of great division when over 80 percent of Arizonans believe the arts help unify us across differences. It bodes well for our state that 74 percent of Arizonans polled—14 percent more than the national average—believe that the more creative they are at their job—individually or as part of a team—the more successful they are in the workplace. These two data points position our region for advancement and growth as a place where arts and culture help people find common ground and support the success of individuals and communities.”

To see the results of the Arizona survey and the full national survey, visit:

For more information about the report contact Catherine “Rusty” Foley, Executive Director, Arizona Citizens for the Arts, (602) 253-6535.