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March 5, 2016

Americans for the Arts – Economic Impact Study

PrintThe Maine Arts Commission announced today that for the first time in the agency’s history it is facilitating statewide participation in Americans for the Arts’ national study Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5 (AEP5). AEP5 is the largest national study measuring the economic impact of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences ever conducted. Surveys will be collected throughout calendar year 2016; results will be released in June of 2017. AEP5 is the fifth national study over the past 20 years to measure the impact of arts spending on local jobs, income paid to local residents, and revenue generated to local and state governments. More than 300 U.S. communities, including five study regions plus independent venues throughout Maine, will be part of this newest study.

Regions participating as study partners in Maine are Bangor, Belfast, Portland, Waterville, and the Western Mountain Regions. Only Portland has participated previously. In addition, the Arts Commission is reaching out to organizations in communities ranging from Ogunquit to Eastport and Lewiston to Presque Isle.
“The economic impact of the cultural sector in Maine is larger and more important than most people realize,” said Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission. “By collecting this data and making it available to communities and regions we are better able to demonstrate this impact, helping policy makers at all levels make better informed decisions throughout Maine.”

The study’s participating communities represent all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. For Maine’s five study regions, a partner organization representing each community will collect detailed financial information from its local nonprofit arts and culture organizations such as local theater and dance companies, museums and galleries, and arts education organizations. Study partners will also collect audience-intercept surveys from attendees at arts events using a short, anonymous questionnaire that asks how much they spent on items such as meals, parking and transportation, souvenirs and retail shopping, and overnight lodging as a direct result of attending the event. Outside of the five Maine study regions, the Arts Commission will work directly with independent organizations. Additional analyses will gauge the important role that the nonprofit arts industry plays in attracting tourists to communities.

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.27.46 AM“Our Arts & Economic Prosperity series 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. Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. “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.”

According to AEP4, based on FY2010 data, the nonprofit arts industry generated $135.2 billion in economic activity and supported 4.1 million full-time equivalent jobs during 2010, resulting in $22.3 billion in federal, state, and local government revenues. The $135.2 billion total included $61.1 billion in spending by arts and culture organizations and an additional $74.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences. A statistic that captured the attention of business and government leaders was that the typical attendee to a nonprofit arts event spends $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on meals, transportation, babysitting, and other event-related spending. Additionally, 32 percent of all arts attendees live outside of the county in which the arts event took place—a finding based on a survey sample of 152,000 arts attendees.

Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study is supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. In addition, Americans for the Arts’ local and statewide study partners are contributing both time and a cost-sharing fee to support to the study. Financial information from organizations will be collected in partnership with DataArts™, formerly The Cultural Data Project, using a new online survey interface. For a full list of the communities participating in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, visit

For Maine arts organizations who have not yet been contacted by a study partner or the Arts Commission, please contact Linda Nelson, Assistant Director, at

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at

The Maine Arts Commission encourages and stimulates public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; expands the state’s cultural resources; and encourages and assists freedom of artistic expression for the well-being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state. Additional information is available at

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