Arts & Economic Prosperity

What's the Economic Impact of the Arts?


That's what we set out to learn, in partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission, as part of a year-long research study called Arts and Economic Prosperity V ("AEP5"), Americans for the Arts (AFTA).  Over the course of 2015, the project involved 14,439 arts groups across the country, including more than 600 organizations in Tennessee, and more than 70 in Shelby County.

Representatives from these groups collected surveys from patrons at thousands of arts events to find out how much they spent on everything from tickets to event-related parking, dining, babysitting, and other activities with a direct connection to their attendance at arts events.  Now the results are in, and they're even more impressive than we expected!  We announced the local findings at a Press Conference on August 31, 2017.  (Click here to read our pre-conference press release.)


The AEP5 study showed that Shelby County's nonprofit arts industry accounts for nearly $200 million in annual spending and sustains the equivalent of more than 6,000 local jobs.


Our formal announcement of the findings included remarks by Phil Trenary (President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber), Anne Pope (Executive Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission), Ritche Manley Bowden (Chair of the Tennessee Arts Commission), Elizabeth Rouse (President & CEO of ArtsMemphis), and Lucy Lee (Board Chair of ArtsMemphis).

Check out this recording of our AEP5 Press Conference (courtesy of videographer Lawrence Shaw):


Study Highlights

What follows are some of the major study findings, broken down by geographic units (country, state, county).



Want to Learn More?

To learn more about AEP5 and its findings, check out these resources:

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