Reports Show that Arts are Boon to the Massachusetts Economy


In New England, arts and culture create jobs, boost tourism, and generate government revenue. Arts and creativity are such an important part of the regional economy and need to be supported and resourced in the same way as other economic sectors. 

Two new reports - Americans for the Arts (AFTA) Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) The Jobs in New England's Creative Economy and Why They Matter document the economic impact the creative sector has here in the Commonwealth.

  • More than 71,000 residents are employed by the creative economy in Massachusetts.
  • In the Commonwealth, the nonprofit arts industry generated over $2.2 billion of economic activity in 2015 - $1.3 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $879.5 million in event-related expenditures by their audiences.
  • In 2015, cultural institutions generated more than $159 million in tax revenue in municipalities and the state.

“The data in these reports confirm that arts matter in Massachusetts. The sector employs as many people as the construction industry. It spurs more than $2 billion of economic activity in Massachusetts alone. It is long past the time for our public officials to show the arts and creative sector the same levels of support given to healthcare, technology, and private industry,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Matt Wilson.

Political leaders need to keep the arts sector in the mix when making important policy decisions. The Commonwealth’s economy thrives when creative workers are trained and supported. Its downtowns and neighborhoods are healthier and more vibrant when public art and design are integrated into development and cultural institutions are well-resourced. And Massachusetts students do better across all academic disciplines when schools offer sequential arts education from K-12.

Through its non-partisan Create the Vote campaigns in 20 cities across the state, MASSCreative is partnering with local arts leaders to encourage candidates for mayor and city council to speak out about the importance of the arts and creative expression. The Commonwealth needs champions of the arts on city councils and mayor’s offices, as communities with vibrant arts scenes are places in which people want to live, work, and play.

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