News Release

The Arts in Greater Washington Generate $2.15 Billion In Local Economic Activity and Support 45,000 jobs

Jun 11, 2007

Patrons of the arts in metropolitan Washington and nonprofit arts organizations spent $2.15 billion in 2005, according to a report released at a press conference today by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington (CAGW) and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG).

The study, Economic Prosperity III: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences in the Greater Washington Metropolitan Region, showed the spending supports 45,000 full-time industry jobs.  Arts and culture organizations spent $1.21 billion annually and leveraged $935.24 million in additional spending by more than 27 million arts and culture audience members.  Results are based on a survey conducted by Americans for the Arts of 268 nonprofits and 3,183 event attendees.

“This study demonstrates how critical the arts are to the economy of this region," said COG Board Chair Vincent Gray, who is also Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia.  "Many local jurisdictions have invested in the arts by supporting efforts such as theater renovations, artists’ housing, and cultural festivals, and this report shows how important it is that we build upon these efforts." 

The Smithsonian Institution accounted for $951.3 million, or 45%, of the total spent in 2005 by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their Greater Washington audiences. Visitors and tourists accounted for 19% of all attendees and spent approximately four times more than local participants, particularly on lodging, meals, and transportation.. 

An analysis of in-kind contributions shows more than 32,000 volunteers donated close to 2 million hours of service to Greater Washington’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations. Valued at approximately $33 million, this voluntarism has an enormous impact on the nonprofit arts industry.

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America, conducted studies in 156 communities throughout the U.S.  Financial support for the Greater Washington study was provided by Prince George’s Economic Development Corporation, DC Chamber of Commerce, Humanities Council of Washington, DC, and Washington Convention & Tourism Corporation. The Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington coordinated the study and arts councils and commissions in the District of Columbia, Alexandria City, Fairfax City and Arlington and Fairfax counties. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties served as local partners responsible for data collection and implementation.

The full study may be downloaded at



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