Home | Experience the Arts | Reports | Arts & Economic Prosperity 5

The Arts Mean Business in St. Louis

Creating Jobs. Generating Commerce. Driving Tourism.

The results of the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 tell a dramatic story about the importance of the arts to this region:

  • The arts have generated $591 million in total economic activity.
  • The arts support 19,129 *full-time equivalent jobs.
  • The arts have generated $57.7 million in local and state government revenue.
  • 11.8 million visits to the arts; that’s more than the St. Louis professional sports teams combined.
The Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 study was conducted by the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC) in partnership with Americans for the Arts the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. The results are based on data collected from 163 nonprofit arts and culture organizations and also from surveying audience members at cultural events during the fiscal year of 2015. The nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $590.9 million industry in the Greater St. Louis Area – one that supports 19,129 *full-time equivalent jobs and generates $57.7 million in local and state government revenue.

Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations are businesses in their own right. They spent $363.7 million during fiscal year 2015 to employ people locally, purchase goods and services from local establishments, and attract tourists. They also leveraged a remarkable $227.2 million in additional spending by cultural audiences – spending that pumps vital revenue into restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages, and other local businesses. Many people believe the arts are important to a vibrant and creative community, but the industry is often marginalized related to its economic contributions. This study shows conclusively that the arts mean business in the Greater St. Louis Area!

  • The arts mean jobs for our citizens.
  • The arts mean sales for local restaurants and shops.
  • The arts mean clients for small businesses that supply everything from printing to painting.
  • The arts mean earnings for hotels by tourists who visit our city to attend arts events.
  • The arts mean revenue for local and state government.

We know that the arts energize and inspire St. Louis citizens, and now we have proof that the arts are a strong economic anchor.

*Full-Time Equivalent Jobs: the total amount of labor employed including part-time and full-time jobs.

Find more information about the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national study on Americans for the Arts website.



The following organizations have been selected for the 2020/2022 Session.

A Call to Conscience
Artists First
Bread & Roses
Circus Harmony
Central Print
COCA-Center of Creative Arts
Consuming Kinetics Dance Company
Contemporary Art Museum
Craft Alliance
The Griot Museum of Black History
HEAL Center for the Arts
Ignite Theatre Company
Jazz St. Louis
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Life Arts
Metro Theater Company
National Blues Museum
Opera Theatre St. Louis
Prison Performing Arts
Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
That Uppity Theatre Company
The Sheldon Arts Foundation
The St. Louis Children’s Choirs
St. Louis Classical Guitar
St. Louis ArtWorks
St. Louis Shakespeare Festival
STAGES St. Louis
Stray Dog Theatre
Urban Artist Alliance for Child Development