Arts education, employment and contributions to a healthy economy

In addition to correlations between arts education and academic achievement, there is a demonstrated need for creative and innovative thinkers in our society.

National impact of the arts

The creative industries are America’s largest export with more than $60 billion annually in overseas sales. Ninety-seven percent of employers say creativity is of increasing importance but 85 percent of employers concerned with hiring creative people are unable to find the applicants they seek. More than 904,000 U.S. businesses are involved in the creation and distribution of art. Creativity-oriented jobs have gone from just over 10 percent of the economy to more than 30 percent.

Sources: U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics



“Creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing even integrity and global thinking.”

--IBM study of more than 1500 corporate heads and public sector leaders across 60 nations and 33 industries



Interviews with industry leaders looking at employment trends through 2016 for arts-related jobs predicts that:

  • Employment of artists and related workers is expected to grow 16 percent, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Employment of game designers is projected to grow by 14 percent.
  • Employment of art directors is expected to grow by 12 percent.
  • Employment in the motion picture and video industries is expected to grow 11 percent.
  • Employment of interior designers is expected to grow by 19 percent.
  • Employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow by 13 percent.
  • Employment growth by arts-centric businesses since 2007 was 11.6 percent, more than four times the rise in the total number of U.S. employees of 2.4 percent.

Sources: Americans for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Entertainment Software Association

Arts and Minnesota's Economy

In 2007, “Artists Count: The Economic Impact of Minnesota’s Individual Artists,”  showed that there were 19,676 artists surveyed, that their economic impact in terms of their own spending was $295 million, that they supported 5,937 full-time-equivalent jobs and that they generated $24 million in state and local revenue. The study also showed that artists are engaged in their communities, volunteering and voting to a higher degree than the rest of the population. 

Read the full report here.

"The arts, culture and entertainment sectors are critical to the economic vitality and livability of this region. Clearly, a community that offers these amenities provides a huge draw for companies that may want to do business and for employees who will want to live and work here."

⎯ Cynthia Lesher, President and CEO, Northern States Power Company – Minnesota

“It’s important to note that while it is no surprise that the Twin Cities metropolitan area supports a robust arts and culture economy, the report also shows a significant economic impact in every other area of Minnesota. The eleven regional reports demonstrate that the excellence, scope, and diversity of cultural activity in every corner of the state go beyond contributing to Minnesota’s quality of life: the arts and culture make a significant contribution to the state’s economy. The return on state arts and culture funding is dynamic. For a very small investment by the state of Minnesota, the arts and culture industry can be leveraged to create jobs, to revitalize both neighborhoods and rural communities, and to educate our children while helping to drive Minnesota’s economy.”

⎯ Sheila Smith, executive director,  Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, introduction to The Arts: A Driving Force in St. Paul’s Economy 2006

In 2013, the city of Minneapolis released a report examining the creative sector in its economy. Read The Minneapolis Creative Index 2013 to learn more about the vital role creative jobs play in the metro area.

"Building a Legacy"

In 2012, Perpich Center for Arts Education published the first statewide assessment of K-12 arts education in Minnesota. This report, “Building a Legacy,” has an excellent section listing almost two dozen links to various reports, studies, articles, and books that look at the connections between arts education and academic achievement. Read it here.

"It’s no accident that many of the world’s top brands are design leaders."
— Ravi Sawhney and Deepa Prahalad, Bloomberg Business Week

Want to learn more about arts education?

Download our full report or summary on arts education research.

Rural communities also benefit

“An arts-based economy can enhance state efforts to diversify rural economies, generate revenue, improve the quality of life, and attract visitors and investment. Rural areas often feature various arts and cultural industries, which, with some assistance, can become productive economic sectors. In addition to stimulating substantial employment and tax revenues, arts enterprises are highly entrepreneurial, readily available in many communities, and attractive to tourists. The arts also create a highly desirable quality of life that draws businesses and knowledge workers to further stimulate the economy.”
— Strengthening Rural Economies through the Arts, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, 8/30/05