Arts & Culture Generates $21.4 Million


Arts are a bigger industry than one might realize. The nation’s arts and culture sector – nonprofit, commercial, education – is a $1.02 trillion industry that supports 4.9 million jobs (2021). That is 4.4% of the nation’s economy – a larger share of GDP than powerhouse sectors such as transportation, construction, and agriculture. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)

ACC Logo on AEP6 Background

The Arts & Culture Collaborative recently participated in Americans for the Arts’
Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), an economic and social impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry.
The ACC spent several months interacting with approximately 50 nonprofit arts and culture organizations and engaging with about 800 of their attendees.  Surveys took place only while attendees were attending the event.  

ACC Region on AEP6 Background

Throughout Connecticut, the study included 717 participating nonprofit arts and culture organizations and 6,429 attendees/audience members.  On a national level, the study included 16,399 participating nonprofit arts and culture organizations and 224,667 attendees/audience members.

AEP6 Quote

Below we are sharing the survey results specific to 16 towns and cities in our region: Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethlehem, Cheshire, Derby, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury.

Generated Economic Activity

Generated economic activity includes spending by arts and culture organizations and additional event-related spending by their audiences.  It also encompasses the number of jobs supported, personal income to residents, and tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments.

ACC AEP6 Spending by arts and culture organizations
ACC AEP6 Event-related expenditures
ACC AEP6 personal income to residents
ACC AEP6 tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments

NOTE: Event-related expenditures include dining before or after the event, parking, public transportation, child/pet care, etc. This excludes the cost of admission and on-site food and drink purchases as those costs are paid directly to the arts and culture organizations themselves and are captured as expenses on the separate survey completed by those organizations. This methodology avoids “double counting” those dollars in the analysis.


For the first time, the AEP research partners collected a portion of audience surveys from attendees to events that were presented, produced, or hosted by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American) organizations. Nationally, 17% were collected from attendees to BIPOC and ALAANA organizations. Spending by attendees at BIPOC and ALAANA organizations was nearly identical to the overall national average and social impact survey results were also nearly identical. These findings should initiate new, and escalate existing, critical funding conversations about BIPOC and ALAANA organizations receiving fair and proportional financial support.


The Arts & Culture Collaborative collected 220 surveys from attendees to BIPOC and ALAANA arts and culture organizations (representing 27.6% of the overall sample of 796 audience surveys, and 110.0% of the researchers’ goal to collect a minimum of 200 surveys from attendees to BIPOC and ALAANA organizations in the Greater Waterbury Region).

Our Participating Nonprofit Arts & Culture Organizations

This study could not have been completed without the cooperation and participation of the 49 nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the Greater Waterbury Region, listed below, that provided the financial and attendance information necessary for the analysis.

  • Afro-Caribbean Cultural Center
  • Arts and Culture Subcommittee of the Southbury Economic Development Commission
  • Arts Escape
  • Artsplace
  • Backyard Theater Ensemble
  • Ball & Socket Arts
  • Beacon Falls Youth Theater Company
  • Brass City Ballet (Waterbury Ballet Company)
  • Cheshire Historical Society
  • Cheshire Youth Theatre
  • Chime in Music with a Mission
  • City Youth Theater
  • Community Theater at Woodbury
  • Connecticut Accordion Association
  • Connecticut Arts Alliance
  • Connecticut Dance Theatre
  • Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (Osborne Homestead Museum)
  • Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Corps
  • Fine Arts Connection of Thomaston
  • Friends of the Riverside Cemetery
  • Glebe House Museum and Gertrude Jekyll Garden 
  • Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury
  • Kiva Dance Collective
  • Landmark Community Theatre
  • Main Street Ballet Company
  • Mattatuck Museum
  • Middlebury Historical Society
  • Naugatuck Valley Community College
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury
  • Newbury Musical Theatre Company
  • Old Woodbury Historical Society
  • Oxford Cultural Arts Commission
  • Oxford Historical Society
  • Palace Theater Group
  • Phoenix Stage Company
  • Seven Angels Theatre
  • Seymour Historical Society
  • Shakesperience Productions
  • The Connecticut Classic
  • Thomaston Historical Society
  • Valley Arts Council
  • Valley Chordsmen
  • Waterbury Chorale
  • Waterbury Regional Chamber Foundation (Arts and Culture Collaborative)
  • Waterbury Symphony Orchestra
  • Waterbury Youth Services
  • Watertown Historical Society (Watertown History Museum)
  • Wolcott Historical Society
  • Woodbury Ballet Theatre
AEP6 Key Messaging
AEP6 Key Message Jobs & the Economy

Arts & Culture Builds Jobs and the Economy. Arts and culture supports jobs, generates revenue for local businesses, and provides authentic cultural experiences that strengthen tourism. In 2022, the arts and culture industry nationally generated $73.3 billion in spending by the organizations themselves, which leveraged an additional $78.4 billion in event-related spending by their audiences. In 2022, arts attendees across the nation spent $38.46 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and lodging—vital income for local businesses.

AEP6 Key Messaging Social Connections

Arts & Culture Builds Social Connections. Arts and culture creates opportunities for shared experiences that strengthen social bonds, sense of belonging, as well as community pride and identity.

AEP6 Key Messaging Creativity & Innovation

Arts & Culture Builds Creativity and Innovation. Arts and culture powers the creative communities where people want to live and work, where entrepreneurs and innovation thrive, and where businesses and night-time economies flourish.

AEP6 Key Messaging More Livable Communities

Arts & Culture Builds More Livable Communities. Arts and culture beautifies cities and towns, brings joy to residents, as well as celebrates and preserves diverse cultural expressions and traditions—improving emotional health and well-being. When we fund arts and culture, we are investing in an industry – one that stimulates the economy, supports local jobs, and contributes to building healthy and vibrant communities. Arts and culture organizations are a critical economic driver of vibrant communities by employing people locally, purchasing goods and services from nearby businesses, and producing the authentic cultural experiences that are magnets for visitors, tourists, and new residents. Arts and culture beautify public spaces and strengthen community pride and identity.

AEP6 Key Messaging Empathy & Understanding

Arts & Culture Builds Empathy and Understanding. Arts and culture fosters empathy, tolerance and inclusion by enabling people to see the world from the diverse perspectives of their community.

AEP6 COVID-19 Disclaimer