National Endowment for the Arts Announces New Study That Measures The Value Of The Performing Arts And Other Arts Sectors

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it,” said American author Henry David Thoreau more than 150 years ago. Time and Money: Using Federal Data to Measure the Value of Performing Arts Activities is a new research note from the National Endowment for the Arts that looks at the value of the arts in three ways: time spent on arts activities; organizational revenue and expenses; and direct consumer spending. A particular focus on performing arts data provides consistency across these three measurements.

The note draws on the most recent data available from the U.S. Economic Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to arrive at monetary and non-monetary value measurements of the nation’s performing arts sector. Recent data show that performing arts organizations generated nearly $13.6 billion in revenues; Americans spent $14.5 billion on performing arts admissions, and on any given day, 1.5 million Americans attended arts performances, usually with family or friends.

“It’s clear that Americans value the arts, through the time and money they spend on the arts,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “Beyond the economic fact that the arts generate significant revenue, the arts are a shared, social activity, and that’s something that enhances the civic life of our communities.”

Time and Money analyzes the value of arts and culture through concrete monetary measures, through ‘revealed preferences’ as seen through consumer spending, and through time use, which is a ‘quality of life’ measure. A growing body of research defines the concept of value using measures beyond traditional gauges such as economic impact. These measures include happiness and life satisfaction surveys, studies that link the arts to community development, research that clarifies the role of arts and culture in the ideas economy, and ‘value added,’ which refers to an industry’s contribution to the gross domestic product. Future NEA research will consider these more comprehensive measures of value.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov

www.nea.gov

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