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The Arts & Culture Scene of North Texas is Thriving—Along with its Tripled Economy

[dropcap letter=”T”]he arts are a critical part of our culture. And according to a new national study, they are critical to the economy too.

[dropcap letter=”T”]he arts are a critical part of our culture. And according to a new national study, they are critical to the economy too.

The national impact study Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, conducted by Americans for the Arts, discovered that the nonprofit arts and culture industry in North Texas generates $1,473,366,015 in annual economic activity. That’s 52,848 full-time equivalent jobs 

“Reflecting our population and business growth, our region is now the third largest arts economy in the nation,” said Katherine Wagner, CEO of the Dallas-based Business Council for the Arts.

The study found that the City of Dallas is seeing robust returns from its annual and long-term investment in the arts, including triple-digit growth in economic impact, jobs and audiences, as well as generating even more revenue for state and local government.

Dallas arts organizations and audiences supported 33,554 jobs, a nearly 3-fold increase over data collected in 2010. Dallas arts and culture generated $97 million to local and state government.

Jennifer Scripps, director of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, said she expected the numbers would show growth, but the large leap on so many levels was exciting.

“The growth that we’ve seen both in the Arts District and all over our city shows a vibrant, diverse and growing cultural community,” said Scripps. “Our established institutions are doing world-recognized work, and our small and emerging groups are vibrant and growing. Our opportunity now is to sustain this, share this art with more parts of our city and keep this moving forward.”

The spending tied to arts and culture in North Texas is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated $1.3 billion in household income for local residents and $167.2 million in local and state government revenues.

In addition to spending by arts organizations, the study also examines event-related spending by its audiences. As a result of attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. What’s more, attendees from out of town often stay overnight in a local hotel. The Leadership Arts class of 2016, a program of Business Council for the Arts, conducted intercept surveys of audiences at arts events in participating cities over several months along with participating cities.

“This is an industry that can never be outsourced,” said the BCA’s Katherine Wagner. “This is economic and job growth that is generated right here at home. With continued support from businesses and our philanthropic communities, we will keep this momentum growing.”

Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said that these results confirm that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation.

“A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live,” Lynch said. “Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”

For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, visit

Courtesty of Business Council for the Arts, The City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and Dallas Arts District.