Arts and the Massachusetts Economy

Last week, Mass Cultural Council and the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development announced nearly $10 million in grant awards to arts organizations throughout Massachusetts as part of Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito’s Economic Recovery Plan.

The Administration knows from economic impact studies conducted since March 2020 that nonprofit cultural organizations have reported over $484 million in lost revenue and over 30,000 employees have been laid off, furloughed, or had hours or salaries reduced as a result of COVID-19 closures.

This is significant not only to these arts and cultural institutions, but to the communities they impact. According to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, conducted by Americans for the Arts using data from 2015, the Massachusetts arts and culture sector contributes $25.8 billion to the state economy and represents over 140,000 jobs and 4.8% of the state’s GDP (more than even construction or education).

In the same year, nonprofit arts organizations generated $2.3 billion in economic activity in the state, supporting over 73,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $159.2 million in local and state government revenue.

Study results show that nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Massachusetts spent over $1.3 billion in 2015. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services, and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated nearly $1.4 billion in household income for local residents.

The arts and culture industry is clearly an economic driver and an essential piece of a thriving economy. The industry provides for those who work in the arts and for many more supported by the sector. For the state of Massachusetts, the arts are a solid return on grant money invested, and reviving arts and culture will be crucial to economic recovery in 2021 and beyond.

Published by MCA

The Mosesian Center for the Arts is a vibrant multi-disciplinary community arts organization in Watertown, Massachusetts. The 30,000 square foot Center, located within a former United States Army arsenal, includes a 340-seat main stage theater, a 100-seat black box theater, exhibition galleries, rehearsal halls, classrooms, and resident artist studios. Program offerings include visual and performing arts classes and workshops for all ages, literary and art discussions, and world-class theatrical and musical performances. Regionally recognized and acclaimed, Watertown Children’s Theatre proudly serves as MCA’s flagship performing arts education program, providing exceptional theater arts classes and performances for youth and families. New Repertory Theatre is the award-winning professional theater company in residence at MCA, and the venue is rented to other outstanding performing arts companies in the Greater Boston region.

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