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The Arizona arts and culture sector generates over $1 billion in economic activity

Newly released data by Americans for the Arts shows Arizona’s nonprofit arts and culture sector generated over $1 billion in economic activity in 2022. The data is part of the  Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 study.

Chris Elliott co-managed the data gathering effort for the national agency on behalf of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. He said he was surprised at the vibrancy of arts events in smaller communities. 

“We went to this event in Tubac, Arizona, this arts festival, that lasted four days and you had folks coming from Canada and folks coming from different parts of the U.S. like Wisconsin,” said Elliott.

He also stated in a separate release, “A community’s arts and culture production is a reflection of the local identity and reinforces one’s sense of place and belonging. This social impact can be more difficult to quantify but is just as important as dollars generated when speaking to the value of Arizona’s nonprofit arts and culture sector.”

The data showed event-related spending by arts and culture audiences totaled nearly $600 million. An additional $450 million in wages was registered for those working in the arts and culture sector. 

Surveys were conducted in Chandler, Mesa, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona, Tempe, Pima County, and metro-Phoenix’s West Valley, "as well as historically under-represented communities such as Winslow, Safford, Nogales and Willcox," according to Jacky Alling, interim executive director at the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

“What we see in these figures is the sector’s return on the state’s investment,” said Patrick McWhortor, CEO of the citizens advocacy group Arizona Citizens for the Arts. “In a year when the state budget included a one-time allocation of $5 million in support of Arizona’s nonprofit arts & culture sector, the sector returned over $15 million in tax revenues, or $3.08 for every $1 invested by the state,” he stated in a release.

About the Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 Study

The study was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. It was supported by The Ruth Lilly Endowment Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts' 297 study partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. 

The full national report, a map of the 373 study regions, and a two-page economic impact summary for each, can be found on  the Americans for the Arts website

Additional reporting, information and resources can be found on the  Arizona Commission on the Arts website.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.