Arts and Economic Prosperity 5

Arts and Culture Mean BIG Business for Our Region

On June 17, 2017, Americans for the Arts unveiled the results of Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5), the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted.

Results of the study reveal the level of economic activity as well as the number of full-time jobs the arts industry generates. The study’s findings also show how much tax revenues the nonprofit arts sector produces.

“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.”

Key national results:

  • 341 study regions across 50 states and D.C.
  • Data collected from 14,439 organizations and 212,691 arts attendees
  • Nonprofit arts industry generated $166.3 billion of economic activity in 2015
  • Spending by arts and culture organizations = $63.8 billion
  • Event-related expenditures by audiences = $102.5 billion
  • Typical attendee spends $31.47 per person, over the cost of admission.

Local Info GraphicCultureWorks is excited to have led the effort in the Richmond and Tri-Cities region as one of 341 study regions that partnered with the Americans for the Arts to conduct the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study.

In our region, the local nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $360.1 million in total economic activity – supporting 10,702 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $31.6 million in local and state government revenues.

Results also show that nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $211.7 million during fiscal year 2015. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated $204.2 million in household income for local residents.

Get study button X

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Calculator is a free and simple tool that makes it possible to estimate the economic impact of your nonprofit arts and culture organization in the Richmond and Tri-Cities region.

Launch Calculator button


Some of our local leaders lent their perspective on the study.





From January 1, 2016 through February 28, 2017, CultureWorks partnered with local arts and culture organizations to collect nearly 1,000 audience-intercept surveys and collected detailed financial data from 82 local nonprofit arts and culture organizations across the region, such as theater and dance companies, museums, visual arts, and arts education organizations.

We thank these local participating organizations:
1708 Gallery
5th Wall Theatre
Agecroft Hall
American Civil War Museum
Art 180
Art on Wheels
Ashland Museum
Battersea Foundation
Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia
Byrd Theatre Foundation
C3: The Creative Change Center
Cadence Theatre Company
CAT Theatre
CharacterWorks Theater
Chesterfield Historical Society
Children’s Museum of Richmond
City Singers Youth Choirs
Classical Revolution RVA
Community Idea Stations
Concert Ballet of Virginia
Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen
Da Capo Virginia
Dancing Classrooms Greater Richmond
Dogtown Dance Theatre
Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Elegba Folklore Society
Firehouse Theatre
Fischer Sundae Puppets
Greater Richmond Children’s Choir
Henricus Historical Park
Historic Hopewell Foundation
Historic Petersburg Foundation
James River Writers
K Dance
Latin Ballet Of Virginia
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Library of Virginia
Maymont Foundation
Midlothian Mines and Rail Road Foundation
Montpelier Arts Center
Monument City Music
One Voice Chorus
Pamplin Historical Park
Petersburg Area Art League
Petersburg Symphony Orchestra
Podium Foundation
Puppets Off Broad Street
Quill Theatre
Richmond Ballet
Richmond Concert Band
Richmond Forum
Richmond Jazz Society
Richmond Performing Arts Alliance
Richmond Symphony
Richmond Triangle Players
Richmond Urban Dance
Robinson Theater Community Arts Center
Science Museum of Virginia
St. John’s Church Foundation
Studio Two Three
Swift Creek Mill Theatre
University Of Richmond-Modlin Center For The Arts
The Valentine
Venture Richmond
Virginia Capitol Foundation
Virginia Commission for the Arts
Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts
Virginia Historical Society
Virginia Holocaust Museum
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Virginia Opera
Virginia Repertory Theatre
Virginia War Memorial
Visual Arts Center of Richmond
Weinstein JCC
WRIR 97.3 FM Richmond Independent Radio

Local AEP5 activities were supported by The Cameron Foundation, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia, and The Robins Foundation. Thank you!

“Richmond was recently named a Top 20 arts vibrant city in the US! We have 200 plus arts and culture organizations and countless artists that work every day to make our region a vibrant place to live, work, and play. This study shows that arts and culture is an economic engine not just across the US, but right here in the Richmond and Tri-Cities region.” said Scott Garka, CultureWorks’ President. ” Supporting arts and culture is about investing in economic development and jobs, it is about investing in our community.”

To learn more about the study, please visit www.americansforthearts.org/aep5.

"There is no other organization serving the City of Richmond and the surrounding region that supports individual artists and cultural entities as CultureWorks does."

"Your team finds imaginative ways to provide opportunities and exposure for large and small organizations."

"You guys are doing such a good job promoting the arts in the region in a fair way…it is VERY refreshing."

"CultureWorks is the glue that holds Richmond's arts and culture community together."

Emily Smith

1708 Gallery

"Thank you so much for believing in St. John's Church Foundation and for your trust. The grant has made a big difference in what we can accomplish"

"There is no other organization serving the City of Richmond and the surrounding region that supports individual artists and cultural entities as CultureWorks does."

Show your support by becoming a Cultural Shareholder. It’s FREE!

To register click here.

Whether you’re actually an artist, or simply someone who attends festivals, goes to galleries, or strolls in gardens, you’re part of an important community expressing itself. And as a Cultural Shareholder, you can connect with others who have the same passions.

As a Cultural Shareholder, you’ll receive …

  • Exclusive weekly listings of last-minute weekend bargains
  • A monthly newsletter spotlighting events, organizations and trends around the region
  • A voice on major issues affecting or benefiting individual communities
  • And it’s all free of charge!

You must be 18 years or older to register.

All content and imagery is property of CultureWorks unless otherwise stated © 2011-2017.