Economic Impact of Arts and Culture in Connecticut

Connecticut’s Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry:

  • Generates $797.3 million in Economic Activity
  • Supports More Than 23,000 Jobs Annually
  • Returns $72.3 Million in Revenue to Local and State Coffers

The Connecticut Office of the Arts would like to take a moment to thank all the nonprofit arts and cultural organizations across the state that participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) study, conducted by Americans for the Arts. Together we illuminated the immense value of this industry and its impact on Connecticut’s economy.

The study tapped into 2015 data points and according to the American’s for the Arts calculations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $797.3 million in annual economic activity in the state, supporting over 23,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $72.3 million in local and state government revenues. To date, AEP5 was the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education.

Results show that nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Connecticut spent over $515 million during 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 nearly $525 million in household income for local residents and $72.27 million in local and state government revenues.

“The arts are a fundamental component of a thriving economy. From a numbers perspective the arts generate jobs, cultural tourism and economic impact. Less quantifiable but equally as valuable: art helps to create community identity and vibrancy, and is critical to attracting and retaining an innovative workforce,” said Kristina Newman-Scott, Director of Culture of Connecticut Office of The Arts, Department of Economic and Community Development. “I believe we have an enormous responsibility to the creators and consumers in the state to protect the legacy of the arts in Connecticut and help foster growth in the creative economy, ” she added.

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry nationally leverages $102.5 billion in event-related spending by local and out-of-state audiences that directly impact the local economy.  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. Nationally, event attendees spend $31.47 on event-related expenses, and that does not include the price of a ticket. In Connecticut, the figure is $27.70 per event attendee, with residents spending $23.78 on average and visitors spending 53% more than residents – $49.78 per event attendee. In Connecticut, 69% of visitors come for arts and cultural offerings.

AEP5 data provides proof that vibrant arts communities keep residents and their discretionary spending close to home and these same vibrant communities attract visitors who deepen their spending and in turn support local economies across Connecticut.

Economic Impact One-Page Summaries

State of Connecticut: PDF

Middlesex County: PDF

Southeastern Connecticut: PDF

Fairfield County: PDF

Northwest Connecticut Region: PDF

Greater New Haven County: PDF

The 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. Financial information from organizations was collected in partnership with DataArts™, using a new online survey interface. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, visit

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