Study: Providence’s Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry generates $205.8M in economic activity

Providence’s Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry Generates $205.8M in Economic Activity, Supports 5,115 Jobs Annually According to Americans for the Arts

Arts industry returns $20,934,000 in revenue to local & state coffers

Providence, RI - Mayor Jorge Elorza and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism announced Tuesday that the city’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $205,780,766 in annual economic activity in Providence, supporting 5,115 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $20,934,000 in local and state government revenue, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study.

“In Providence, the immense impact of the creative economy is clear. Arts activity creates and sustains jobs for our residents, generates millions in revenue, and makes us a destination for tourists,” said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “As the Creative Capital, the arts help us attract and retain businesses and have revitalized our neighborhoods.”

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry conducted in the United States, was administered by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. It was also supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts.

Results show that nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $93,832,555 during fiscal year 2015 on a wide range of expenditures including employee wages and salaries, supplies, contracted services and assets. Those dollars generated $121,255,000 in household income for local residents and $20,934,000 in local and state government revenue.

“The benefits of Providence’s vibrant arts community ripple throughout our local economy,” said Stephanie Fortunato, Director of Providence’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism. “The diverse cultural and artistic experiences stewarded by our nonprofit cultural organizations create jobs, opportunities for visitors and locals alike to spend time here, and are critical to our city’s vitality.”

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages $111,948,211 in event-related spending by audiences. These expenses include restaurant patronage, parking and souvenirs, and lodging. 

“This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live. Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”

The City of Providence was one of 341 study regions to participate in the study. This is the third time the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism has partnered with the Americans for the Arts to administer this research study locally. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. Financial information from organizations was collected in partnership with DataArts™, using a new online survey interface. A full list of participating communities in the study can be found at

The Department of Art, Culture + Tourism ensures the continued development of a vibrant and creative city by integrating arts and culture into community life while showcasing Providence as an international cultural destination. The Department undertakes research in order to inform policy decisions, strategic collaborations, community investments, and initiatives that will amplify the presence of arts, culture and creativity. Arts & Economic Prosperity 5: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Organizations & Their Audiences in the City of Providence, RI is available at

(release from City of Providence)