As the federal government reported:
"The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released prototype estimates today from teh new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA). This is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector's contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. According to these new estimates, 3.2 percent -- or $504 billion -- of current-dollar GDP in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture."
That is considerably more than many other industries, including travel and tourism. and the performing arts were among the top contributors in the art and culture sector.
Further, "In 2011, the production of arts and cultural goods and services employed 2.0 million workers and generated $289.5 billion in employee compensation in the form of wages, salaries and supplements."
"Art and culture is a significant part of the U.S. economy. Not just its contributions of ideas and creativity to the innovation economy, but also as an important part of the labor force and our country's GDP," said NEA Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa. "The Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account is an unprecedented resource for detailed, reliable data on the economic value associated with arts and cultural activity." '
So for everyone who thinks that the arts are frivolous, for those Members of Congress who thought arts support didn't belong in the stimulus package during the economic crisis, know that art is valuable as art, but it is also an important American business. This study makes it clear that arts and culture grow our economy as well as our souls, and an investment in the arts pays off with substantial returns.
See all the ACPSA findings here.