Illinois Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector is $2.75 Billion Industry

Illinois' nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $2.75 billion industry according to Arts & Economic Prosperity IV, a new study from Arts Alliance Illinois and Americans for the Arts.

This study unequivocally demonstrates the value of investments in the arts and cultural sector. Despite the recession, arts and cultural organizations were major contributors to Illinois’ economy. The arts sector puts people to work in Illinois and is a magnet for attracting talent, tourists, and investment to the region. – Ra Joy, Executive Director, Arts Alliance Illinois

Chart: Economic Impact of the Arts in Illinois. Direct spending by Illinois nonprofit arts and culture organizations: $1.56 billion. Spending by Illinois nonprofit arts and culture audiences: $1.19 billion. Total economic impact: $2.75 billion.

Nonprofit arts sector is a job and business generator


According to Arts & Economic Prosperity IV, $2.75 billion in annual spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences in Illinois:

  • Supports more than 78,000 full-time-equivalent jobs
  • Generates a total of $2.3 billion in household income to Illinois residents
  • Delivers $324 million in state and local government revenue

Chart: Jobs Supported by the Arts in Illinois. Jobs supported by spending by nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences: 78,455. Legal professionals: 44,570. Accountants and auditors: 41,720. Police and sheriff's patrol officers: 29, 510. Financial managers: 23,000. Computer programmers: 19,220. Firefighters: 15,530.

Nonprofit arts sector contributes to other industries


The nonprofit arts and culture sector drives significant business to other industries critical to the health of the Illinois economy, including food service, ground transportation, and hospitality.

Chart: Audience Spending in Illinois. Nonprofit arts and culture audiences in Illinois spent $1.19 billion in 2010.

Cultural tourism offers even greater opportunities for growth


Cultural tourism has the potential to attract significant new spending to the state of Illinois. Currently, arts patrons visiting from out of state spend two-and-a-half times more per person than Illinois residents in relation to arts and cultural events ($55.82 versus $20.43).

Chart: Resident vs. Cultural Tourist Spending in Illinois. Cultural Tourists spend two-and-a-half times more on average than Illinois-based audiences.

About Arts & Economic Prosperity

Arts & Economic Prosperity IV is the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted in the United States. It features a national report along with customized findings for 182 unique study regions, including the state of Illinois. Data collection for the Illinois study was conducted in 2011 by Arts Alliance Illinois and compiled by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. Support was provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Download the full Arts & Economic Prosperity IV report for the state of Illinois.

Download a summary of the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV report for the state of Illinois.

The state of Illinois is one of 182 study regions in the U.S. that participated in Arts & Economic Prosperity IV. These study regions include 139 cities and counties, 31 multicity or multi-county regions, 10 states and two individual arts districts—representing all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

In the state of Illinois, data from nearly 1,000 eligible nonprofit arts and culture organizations and over 2,700 surveys of Illinois nonprofit arts and culture audiences were included. The included 1,000 organizations were a representative sample of the sector as a whole.