Economic Impact of the Arts

The popular understanding that the arts are essential to the economy of the city and state of New York is founded on a 25-year history of research by the Alliance for the Arts. In the past quarter century, remarkable growth has occurred in all of the major components of the arts industry in New York City. The economic value of the arts has increased by 86 percent in real terms since 1983, and by 61 percent since 1993. The nonprofit sector has doubled in two decades. Broadway and film production are setting records, and arts-motivated tourism is surging. New York City has become the global capital of the art market. Data gathered from both the commercial and nonprofit sectors, as well as from arts-motivated visitors, also indicate a substantial recovery from the terrorist attacks of September 11.

In New York State, a strong and widespread nonprofit arts sector provides cultural opportunities while also creating jobs and generating taxes. These nonprofit institutions attract visitors from surrounding communities and from outside the state. New York State benefits significantly from the concentration of motion picture and television production, commercial theaters and art galleries in New York City.

The arts are a complex industry in which the commercial and nonprofit sectors enjoy a close relationship with talent, product and capital flowing from one to the other. To learn more about the economic impact of this industry and the beneficial relationship between the arts and New York City and State, read the report, Arts as an Industry: Their Economic Impact on New York City and New York State (2007).

When the cultural institutions of a great city are themselves actively building new and expanded facilities, these capital investments also have an impact on the economy and are an important measurement of the vitality of cities. Such is the case in New York City now and for the past two decades. The cultural organizations are leading this phenomenon themselves, but they are the beneficiaries of unprecedented financial support from the private sector and from the municipal government. The largest source of funding for this construction activity is the private sector—individuals, corporations and foundations. But an important factor is a newly active public sector. To learn more about the benefits of cultural activity, read the report, Culture Builds New York: The Economic Impact of Capital Spending at New York City’s Cultural Institutions 2003-2010 (2007).

Arts Education

NYCkidsARTS holds information about educational programs for young people in the arts and sciences in New York City. NYCkidsARTS is dedicated to encouraging arts education in the schools through our informational services for teachers and parents. Teachers can use the material in class to enrich lesson and curriculum plans and to design field trips throughout the city. The site also provides information for parents to help their children discover their own creativity in the arts and sciences.

Seniors and the Arts

In the online NYC-ARTS Cultural Guides for Seniors, NYC-ARTS has compiled the most complete directory of discount tickets and programs for seniors, and disability access offered by cultural organizations. For additional resources, visit  Age-Friendly NYC (an intiative of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and New York Academy of Medicine, the Department for the Aging, the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Dept. of Aging

Another one of the many resources for seniors, Hospital Audiences, provides a great deal of information on access to culture, including arts workshops, discount tickets and physical access to cultural institutions. For more information, visit