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Arts and Economic Prosperity 6

The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis partnered with Americans for the Arts on the sixth national study of the economic impact of the nonprofit and arts culture industry, Arts and Economic Prosperity 6. This study is conducted approximately every five years to gauge the economic impact (on employment, government revenue, and household income) of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and the event-related spending by their audiences.


Local Impact

As St. Louis positions itself as a great place to work, live and play, the arts and culture sector plays a vital role. According to the AEP6, the sector contributes nearly $868 million in economic impact in St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

The arts spark economic development In St. Louis, the arts and culture sector provides some 12,000 jobs, with wages upward of $611 million, according to AEP6. Statewide, the sector contributes more to the Missouri economy than construction, transportation and agriculture.

Investing in the arts leads to higher property values. Having a cultural organization in a community has been shown to increase the nearby residential property values by up to 20%. Higher property values lead to higher property taxes, which represent a large portion of budgets for local municipalities.

According to AEP6, more than 8.1 million local and out-of-town tourists attended St. Louis theatre performances, concerts, art fairs, festivals, and more in 2022 – many of which were funded by RACSTL. Out-of-town tourists spent 71% more than their local counterparts when engaging with the local arts and culture sector.

Read the full report.



Why AEP6 Matters

Statistics can only paint a part of the picture. The meaning behind AEP6 helps show the true impact of the arts and culture sector on the St. Louis region. The list below, provided by Americans for the Arts, highlights the importance of this major study.  

Nonprofit arts and culture organizations are businesses.

They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from within the community, are members of their Chambers of Commerce, and attract tourists to their regions.

The arts drive commerce to local businesses.

The arts, unlike most industries, leverage significant amounts of event-related spending by their audiences. In 2017, arts attendees spent $31.47 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and lodging—vital income for local businesses.

Arts travelers are ideal tourists.

They stay longer and spend more to seek out authentic cultural experiences. One-third of attendees travel from outside the county in which the activity takes place and spend an average of $48 per person. (69% say they traveled specifically to attend the activity.)

Small investments. Big returns.

In 2017, the combined $5 billion in direct arts funding by local, state, and federal governments yielded $27.5 billion in government revenue

Local Participants

The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis wants to thank the arts and culture nonprofits below that have participated in the audience survey so far.

Meet the Research Team

The collection of AEP6 data is a labor-intensive task. Led by Arts & Economic Prosperity Study 6 Lead MK Stallings, the research team has worked diligently to collect the data they need for the study to be successful.

We invite arts and culture nonprofits to participate in this study and help us gain a clearer understanding of how their economic activity impacts this region. To get involved, contact the AEP6 Lead, MK Stallings.
Local Participants: A-J
  • A Call to Conscience
  • African Heritage Association of St. Louis
  • Chinese Culture Education & Services
  • Contemporary Arts Museum
  • Craft Alliance
  • December Magazine
  • Fly North Theatricals
  • Gateway Festival Orchestra of St. Louis
  • Grand Center Arts District, Inc.
  • International Photography Hall of Fame
  • Jazz St. Louis
Local Participants: K-Z
  • Kranzberg Arts Foundation
  • Magic House
  • Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Missouri Historical Society
  • National Blues Museum
  • Pulitzer Arts Foundation
  • Sabayet, Inc.
  • Saint LAAA FAB
  • Saint Louis Actors Studio
  • Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective
  • Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
  • Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
  • Sheldon Arts Foundation
  • Shirley Bradley LeFlore Foundation
  • The Luminary
  • Twangfest
  • Union Ave Opera
  • World Chess Hall of Fame
  • Zuka Arts Guild

Zofie Christian

Zofie Christian is an incoming first-year at the University of Chicago, where she plans to major in economics. During high school, Christian took advanced Spanish classes at Saint Louis University, alongside classes in women’s and gender studies, political science,...

Alexis Creamer

As a native of St. Louis and a lover and supporter of the arts, Alexis Creamer admits she's only had exposure to one area and demographic of the arts. After joining the RAC AEP6 Research Team, she's been given an opportunity to explore various art districts in St....

Mari Carter

Mari “MC” Carter is a performing poet, writer, teaching artist and student. Her passion for the arts has led her to collaborating with Urb Arts as a poet, Verbquake teaching artist and a Verbquake Youth Slam coach. She has partnered with organizations such as Prison...

Greg Maurice

Gregory Maurice is a poet, writer, actor and creative. Born and raised in St. Louis, Maurice dove into poetry in 2008, on the campus of Missouri Western University. Since that time, Maurice has opened up for poets such as The Last Poets, Sunni Patterson and Taalam...

Mycol Martin

Mycol Martin joined the Regional Arts Commission as the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study 6 Research Assistant in 2022. He is a self-motivated multidisciplinary actor, artist, and visionary of a production company, DLiNX. His work derives from his admiration of the...

Connor Shelton

Connor Shelton joined the Regional Arts Commission as a Research Assistant in 2022. He is a recent college graduate and content list writer for Screen Rant who also dabbles in poetry. His work has appeared in zines such as The Monitor and A Moment along with more...

Derek Laney

Derek Laney is a father and organizer with a background in social services. Derek was a lead organizer with the national Fed Up Campaign to reform the Federal Reserve Banking system. He also was a prominent organizer and executive director of M.O.R.E., (Missourians...

Kalia Holland

Kaila Holland is a current student at Washington University majoring in Urban Studies with minors in the Business of Social Impact and the Practice for Social Change. She aims to work in the nonprofit sector examining how built environments and institutional practices...

Lia Upchurch

Lia Upchurch joined the RAC AEP6 Research Team in September 2022 as a research assistant. While new to the St. Louis area, Lia has been moved by the openness, earnestness, and charm of the residents of this city. Lia looks forward to working with RAC and being...

Bob Madden

Bob joined the Regional Arts Commission to assist with the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study 6 research program and is now proud to be working as a Volunteer Coordinator at RAC. He is a returning student currently enrolled at UMSL studying for a BFA in Studio Art...