“If you can’t count it, it doesn’t count” -- a common sentiment among decision-makers. Strengthen your case for the arts with these findings from Arts Alliance Illinois research.

Advocacy research

Arts and the Economy

Creative Industries: Business and Employment in the Arts, Americans for the Arts (2012)

  • There are 33,939 creative enterprises in Illinois that employ 140,313 people as of 2012.
  • These enterprises range from nonprofit galleries, performance halls, ballets, and orchestras to commercial art collections, theatres, publishing houses, and advertising firms.
  • Creative enterprises are essential to our state's economy: they put people to work, buy from local businesses, generate government revenue, and are a cornerstone of tourism and economic development.

Access the Creative Industries: Business and Employment in the Arts report for your community through the Americans for the Arts website.

Arts & Economic Prosperity, Arts Alliance Illinois and Americans for the Arts (2012)

  • In Illinois, the nonprofit arts alone are a $2.75 billion industry that supports over 78,000 full-time-equivalent jobs, generates a total of $2.3 billion in household income to local residents, and delivers more than $320 million in local and state government revenue.
  • Cultural tourism has the potential to attract significant new spending to Illinois. Currently, one in ten arts attendees live outside of Illinois and spend, on average, two-and-a-half times more per person than local arts attendees ($55.82 versus $20.43). Further, nearly half of all attendees interviewed said they would travel to a different community for similar cultural experiences. In other words, if Illinois doesn’t offer desirable cultural experiences, audiences are likely to go elsewhere.
  • Illinois’ arts and culture sector is broad and diverse. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV shatters the myth that attendees are primarily older and wealthier. In fact, 40 percent of audiences in Illinois are under the age of 44. Similarly, arts audiences are made up of individuals of wealth as well as individuals of modest means. Nearly 20 percent of audiences earn more than $120,000 in household income annually; but over one-third earn less than $60,000.

Learn more about the impact of arts and cultural organizations and their audiences on the Illinois economy.

Arts and Schools and Learning

Arts at the Core: Every School, Every Student, Arts Alliance Illinois (2005)

  • 92 percent of superintendents and 94 percent of principals in Illinois agree that the arts are an essential part of a well-rounded, quality education.
  • Despite this, 1 in 5 schools report no arts programming in visual arts, theatre, music, or dance.
  • Students in rural areas and small school districts receive the least amount of instruction in the arts.
  • 1 in 4 schools and 1 in 10 school districts do not employ an arts specialist in any arts discipline.
  • The majority of high school students are not required to take an arts course in order to graduate.
  • The most significant barrier to arts education is budget considerations according to school administrators.

Read more from Arts at the Core: Every School, Every Student, the first and only census of arts education in Illinois public schools.