Creative Economy

Page updated on Mar 21, 2017 at 3:56 PM

Arts and culture not only enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors in a community - the creative economy is a vital element in building and sustaining unique and diverse communities. By working together cultural organizations, working artists, and creative businesses contribute to the local economy by providing jobs, supporting other local businesses, and local revenue.

The City of Alexandria Office of the Arts works with leaders in the industry to track and measure the vitality and impact of the arts in our community.


Arts & Economic Prosperity IVThe Arts and Economic Prosperity IV study was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. Established in 1960, Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.

This study - the largest of its kind - shows that arts and culture is a $70.7 million industry in Alexandria supporting 1,774 full-time equivalent jobs, generating $38 million in household income to local residents, and providing $4.8 million in local and state government revenue.

Of the over 1,100 audience members who were surveyed, people who attend a cultural event spend an additional $19.21 above the cost of admission or tickets for items such as dining out souvenirs.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study also shows that during 2010 4,284 volunteers donated 213,351 hours to local non-profit arts and culture organizations. This contribution has an estimated value of over $4,557,000 (the Independent Sector estimates the dollar value of the average 2010 volunteer to be $21.36).

To view the national study, click here.

The City of Alexandria's Office of the Arts served as the lead study partner for Alexandria, one of 182 study partners in the United States. Special thanks to the 62 non-profit arts and culture organizations who provided all of the data for the study and for gathering 1,108 audience surveys and to the Alexandria Commission for the Arts and the Alexandria Arts Forum for their support.




Local Arts Index Logo 

 The Local Arts Index was launched in 2012 as a tool to better understand the characteristics of the cultural life of individual communities and provides a set of measures to understand the breadth, depth and character of the cultural life of a community and a framework for relating arts and culture to community priorities and aspirations. 

The Local Arts Index was developed in partnership with arts leadership organizations in over 100 communities and is comprised of a variety of indicators to understand who we are as a community and how that manifests itself through cultural activities and participation.

To view the complete study, click here.

To learn more about the Local Arts Index and the cities that participated, click here.