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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

NEA Study Measures Value of Performing

May 10, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it," said American author Henry David Thoreau more than 150 years ago.

Time and Money: Using Federal Data to Measure the Value of Performing Arts Activities is a new research note from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) that looks at the value of the arts in three ways: time spent on arts activities; organizational revenue and expenses; and direct consumer spending. A particular focus on performing arts data provides consistency across these three measurements.

The note draws on the most recent data available from the U.S. Economic Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to arrive at monetary and non-monetary value measurements of the nation's performing arts sector.

Recent data show that performing arts organizations generated nearly $13.6 billion in revenues; Americans spent $14.5 billion on performing arts admissions, and on any given day, 1.5 million Americans attended arts performances, usually with family or friends.

"It's clear that Americans value the arts, through the time and money they spend on the arts," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "Beyond the economic fact that the arts generate significant revenue, the arts are a shared, social activity, and that's something that enhances the civic life of our communities."