When educators talk about the positive effects of arts education, three traits help paint the picture: greater academic achievement, social and civic engagement, and job success later in life. Now with the recent partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economic value of an arts education can be proven with measurable data.
The partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has lead to the creation of the first Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account. “The account is meant to trace the relationship of arts and cultural industries, goods, and services to the nation’s ultimate measure of economic growth, its gross domestic product” (Who Knew? Arts Education Fuels the Economy). When collecting data for this account, art education referred to “post-secondary education fine-arts schools, departments of fine arts and performing arts, and academic performing-arts centers.”
Though the findings made by the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account does not include design schools, media-arts programs, and creative writing programs, the results are still astonishing. Arts education is the second largest share of output for all U.S. arts and cultural commodities and in 2011 arts education added $7.6 billion to the nation’s GDP. Additionally, the arts education industry employed 17,000 workers whose wages and salaries totaled to $5.9 billion. And when asked about leadership traits that allow an individual to thrive, policy makers and business leaders have stated that "creativity trumps other leadership characteristics in an era of relentless complexity and disruptive change” in a recent IBM report. This certainly makes a great case for the benefits of arts education.
Until the day art education finds universal recognition across disciplines, Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account can help. With its certified statistics on the value of arts education in the U.S. economy, arts educators, businesses, policy makers, and the general public are able to see the numbers behind how art drives the economy.
To read more about arts education as an economic factor, check out the original article published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.