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Greater Philadelphia's Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry Generates $4.1 Billion in Economic Activity and Supports 55,225 Jobs Annually

Arts Industry Returns $225 Million in Local and State Tax Revenue

PHILADELPHIA – September 25, 2017 – Southeastern Pennsylvania’s arts and culture sector has a profound $4.1 billion effect on the region’s economy and creates the equivalent of 55,225 full-time jobs annually, according to a major economic impact report published today by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

The 2017 report, Agenda: Prosperity, is the second in a series of publications that amplify the impact, both social and economic, of arts and culture in Greater Philadelphia. Agenda: Prosperity, part of a national study done every five years by Americans for the Arts, provides data that proves that arts and culture supports families, neighborhoods and cities and serves as an economic engine for the entire region. 

“Arts and culture is a powerhouse of economic activity in Southeastern Pennsylvania,” says Cultural Alliance president Maud Lyon. “It not only brings investment and jobs, but also bolsters the region’s well-deserved reputation as a vibrant, diverse and creative place to live and work. This study demonstrates the economic value of arts and culture in our region. I’m gratified to see that the sector is expanding and increasing, with more organizations taking part in this study and generating more tax revenue, more household income, and more local spending than ever before.”

The findings in Agenda: Prosperity show the substantial contribution of the arts and culture sector. In 2015 alone, nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $1.99 billion. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within the community. Those dollars, in turn, generated $1.3 billion in household income for local residents and $225 million in local and state tax revenues.

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages $2.08 billion a year in event-related spending by its audiences. As a result of attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay for child care.

“The City of Philadelphia is proud to partner with the Cultural Alliance on a project as important as Agenda: Prosperity,” says Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “This report provides an invaluable chance for the cultural community to share with others what many of us already know: that arts and culture are essential components of the City’s community revitalization, education and economic development strategies, and that their impact in the City of Philadelphia and throughout the region is consistent and significant.”

“Arts and culture have numerous impacts on our city,” says Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia. “The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy is pleased to partner with the Cultural Alliance on Agenda: Prosperity, to articulate the significance of the arts on the city’s economy. This report, paired with our support of accessible, quality cultural experiences, tells the full story of the impact of the arts on Philadelphia and its residents.”

Nationwide, the nonprofit arts industry produces $166.3 billion in economic activity every year, resulting in $27.54 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues. In addition, it supports 4.6 million full-time equivalent jobs and generates $96.07 billion in household income. These figures come from Americans for the Arts’ national study Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, the partner publication of Agenda: Prosperity.

The findings in Agenda: Prosperity are based on information collected from 1,485 audience surveys and the spending information from 492 arts and culture organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Agenda: Prosperity was made possible by partnerships with the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, DataArts and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce. Additional support for Agenda: Prosperity provided by the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation.

Additional information on Agenda: Prosperity, as well as the national AFTA report and resources for arts and culture organizations, can be found at

The key findings of Agenda: Prosperity are:


 Philadelphia Region 

Philadelphia County

 Total Economic Impact

$4.1 billion 

$3.4 billion 

 Organization Spending (direct+indirect)

$1.99 billion 

$1.6 billion 

 Audience Spending (direct+indirect)

$2.08 billion 

$1.8 billion 

 Tax Revenues

$225 million 

$157 million 

 Household Income

$1.3 billion 

$930 million 

 FTE Jobs




Established in 1972, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is the region’s leading arts and cultural advocacy, research and marketing organization. Our mission is to “lead, strengthen and amplify the voices of a cultural community that ignites creativity, inspires people and is essential for a healthy region.” Our membership includes over 450 organizations ranging from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles and zoos. For more information on the Cultural Alliance, please visit