The Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry Means Big Business in the Metro Atlanta Region

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Atlanta, Georgia — The City of Atlanta, Fulton County, the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta are pleased to release findings that prove the nonprofit arts and culture industry is a big business in the Metro Atlanta region. According to the latest Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) study, the nonprofit arts and culture industry annually generates more than half a billion in economic activity, nearly 20,000 full-time equivalent jobs and $56 million in local and state tax revenues.

Arts Industry Boom for Local Businesses

According to the study, nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Metro Atlanta spent $383 million during fiscal year 2015. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their communities. Those dollars, in turn, generated $491 million in household income for local residents.

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry in Metro Atlanta leverages $74 billion in 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 Atlanta region was one of nearly 300 study partners across all 50 states to participate in the AEP5 study compiled from local data by the Americans for the Arts. It is the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States.

Nationwide, the study reveals that the nonprofit arts industry produces $166 billion in economic activity every year, resulting in $28 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues. In addition, it supports five million full-time equivalent jobs and generates $87 billion in household income.

“This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live. 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.”

“Atlanta is experiencing its greatest growth and prosperity in 40 years. Much of this success can be attributed to our commitment to diversity, enhancing quality of life, and our pro-business climate. Along with this success comes the recognition that we must support our cultural community in a manner befitting a booming international city. Over the past seven years, my Administration has been intentional about giving back to the creative community that gives so much of its talent to the City of Atlanta. Thanks to the Office of Cultural Affairs, our valued partners, and the City’s talented artists and art organizations, we are recognized as the cultural center of the Southeast, and we are expanding our national and international reputation in the arts.” – Mayor Kasim Reed

“The American for the Arts economic study reaffirms the arts’ considerable and necessary contributions to the well-being of communities across greater Atlanta. Arts and culture are powerful tools with which to engage communities,” said Fulton County Chairman John Eaves. “It is important that we continue to support the arts and art culture both on the national and local levels. The arts community plays a major role in Fulton County: employing people locally, purchasing goods and services from local merchants, and driving tourism and economic development. The strength of every society is shown by its facilitation and support of the arts.”

“The fact that four separate metro Atlanta arts organizations collaborated to provide data for this study shows how important arts and culture are to our region,” said Doug Hooker, ARC executive director. “And the numbers speak for themselves. These businesses, galleries and theaters are helping to drive our economy while also improving the quality of life for all of our residents.”

“There’s no question the arts connect communities and contribute to a better quality of life for us and our neighbors,” said Alicia Philipp, president, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “Our work in the arts builds the capacity of small and midsized arts organizations that are at the root of a thriving arts ecology, showing new work, incubating ideas and debuting talent, all the while serving as a vital part of our region’s economic engine.”

The national Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. The full text of the national statistical report is available at


Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study is supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. In addition, Americans for the Arts’ local and statewide study partners have contributed both time and a cost-sharing fee support for the study. For a full list of the nearly 300 Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study partners, visit

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in the nation. This is the fifth study over the past 20 years to measure the impact of arts spending on local jobs, income paid to local residents, and revenues generated for local and state governments.