Arts & Economic Prosperity IV

The Arts Mean Business in St. Louis

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


  • The Arts are a 582.3 million industry that grew 4% since 2007
  • The Arts comprise more than 10,000 *full-time equivalent jobs that grew 14% since 2007
  • 11.3 million visits to the arts – more than the Cardinals, Blues and Rams audiences combined

The Arts and Economic Prosperity IV study was conducted by the Regional Arts Commission 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 137 nonprofit arts and culture organizations and also from surveying audience members at cultural events. While the country was steeped in a recession and unemployment almost doubled, it is remarkable that the arts and cultural industry in St. Louis experienced growth. The economic impact of the arts industry in the region is $582.3 million, a 4% increase from 2007 when the survey was last conducted. In St. Louis employment in the arts rose to more than 10,000 *full-time equivalent jobs, a leap of 14% during the last five years. Very few industries can boast of improved performance during the last five years. 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 proves with certainty that the arts mean business in St. Louis, which translates into economic well-being.

  • 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, even in difficult times.

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

The Regional Arts Commission thanks Wells Fargo Advisors for its generous support of this important project.

Download the St. Louis City & County Reports:

Arts & Economic Prosperity IV Summary Report

Arts & Economic Prosperity Full Report

Find more information about the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV national study and additional resources here.