Vermont Arts Council

The Arts Mean Business

In Vermont, nonprofit arts and culture make up a larger than $123 million industry supporting thousands of jobs. The sector also generates millions of dollars in revenue to local and state government.

These are just two important facts supported by data from the Americans for the Arts’ fifth iteration of the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study (AEP5). Eighty-eight Vermont organizations participated in this yearlong, nationwide survey to assess the economic impact of the arts. What is true across the nation is true in our state: Arts and culture are one and the same as economic development. It’s not an either/or choice.

Working the Economy

Vermont’s nonprofit arts and culture sector supports at least 4,268 full-time equivalent jobs and generates more than $10 million in revenue to local and state government (the numbers 4,268, 2.6 million, and 7.2 million are the reported numbers; no results were extrapolated). In 2015, organizations in this sector participating in the study spent $79 million to employ people locally, purchase goods and services from local establishments, and attract tourists. They also leveraged a remarkable $44 million in additional spending by cultural audiences — pumping vital revenue into restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and other local businesses.

impactsVermont’s nonprofit arts and culture sector

  • $122.9 million in total direct expenditures
  • 4,268 full-time-equivalent jobs
  • $2.6 million revenue to local government
  • $7.2 million revenue to state government

Arts and Culture Spending

At Vermont cultural events, the average per-person expenditure for residents weighed in at $23.45 excluding the cost of tickets. Cultural tourists and nonresident attendees spend twice as much, coming in at $46.35 per person. In all, annual audience spending for the arts and culture cashed in at $44 million.


the arts drive tourism

For 70% of nonresidents, the primary purpose of their visit was “specifically to attend this cultural event.” Visitors spent an average of 98% more per person than their local counterparts.

the arts retain local dollars

48% of resident attendees said if an arts event were not available locally they would have “traveled to a different community to attend a similar cultural event.”

Putting it Together

Communities that support the arts and culture are investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism. The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study shows conclusively that the arts mean business in the state of Vermont.

Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts commented, “Understanding and acknowledging the incredible economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture, we must always remember their fundamental value. They foster beauty, creativity, originality, and vitality. The arts inspire us, provoke us, involve us, and connect us. But they also create jobs and contribute to the economy.”

read the full results for Vermont

more about the study

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