Groundbreaking Study Reveals the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector Generated $18M in 2022

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The Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge, the Greenville-Pitt County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Greenville Eastern North Carolina Alliance, and Pitt County Economic Development collectively announced that Pitt County’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $18,037,461 in economic activity in 2022, according to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), an economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts.

“This data shows that when individuals, corporations, and government municipalities support non-profit arts and culture organizations that it is truly an investment, not a hand-out. We turn around and exponentially impact our community’s economy,” Pitt County Arts Council’s Executive Director, Holly Garriott said. “Arts and cultural events bring people to our downtowns to spend money on dining, shopping, and lodging.”

That economic activity–$12,819,757 in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and $5,217,704 in event-related spending by their audiences supported 365 jobs and generated $1,786,863 in local, state, and federal government revenue. Spending by arts and culture audiences generates valuable commerce to local merchants, a value-add that few other industries can compete with.

“Arts and culture play a significant role in the overall economic health of our destination,” states President and CEO Andrew Schmidt. “The arts also are an essential component in attracting visitors from all market segments and we look forward to supporting the future growth of arts and cultural opportunities in Greenville-Pitt County.”

Building on its 30-year legacy as the largest and most inclusive study of its kind, AEP6 uses a rigorous methodology to document the economic and social contributions of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. The study demonstrates locally as well as nationally, arts and culture are a critical economic driver of vibrant communities.

“We are keenly aware of how quality of life and a community’s amenities factor heavily in the site selection process for companies as well as the job and location decisions of individuals which impact the financial health of localities and regions. For these reasons alone, communities and local governments should continuously invest to improve their quality and offerings,” said Josh Lewis, President and CEO of the Greenville ENC Alliance. “It should also be understood that arts and cultural amenities can come with their own positive economic and financial impacts. The Greenville ENC Alliance supports examining these impacts and increasing our understanding of the local economy. This type of data will help to tell the story of what our community gains from having such a robust presence of arts and culture.”

“The arts play a crucial and multi-faceted role in the vitality of our economy and the vibrancy of our communities,” said Kelly Andrews, Director of Pitt County Economic Development. “Our communities and citizens benefit from the arts, and we also are able to recruit companies and talent as they discover a place in which they can live, engage, and thrive.”

Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study reveals that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $151.7 billion industry—one that supports 2.6 million jobs and generates $29.1 billion in government revenue.

“Arts and culture organizations have a powerful ability to attract and hold dollars in the community longer. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from nearby businesses, and produce the authentic cultural experiences that are magnets for visitors, tourists, and new residents,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “When we invest in nonprofit arts and culture, we strengthen our economy and build more livable communities.”

AEP6 represents a reset from its previous versions, establishing a new benchmark in the AEP study series.

  • Social Impact: For the first time, AEP6 expands beyond the economic and financial data to include social impact measurements of arts and culture’s effect on the well-being of communities and residents.
  • Equity and Inclusion: AEP6 broke new ground by prioritizing equity, community engagement, and inclusivity. With the goal of reducing systemic bias, Americans for the Arts transformed its approach and expanded the inclusion and participation of organizations serving or representing BIPOC- (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA- (African, Latine, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying communities.

Nationally, the extensive research reveals proportional economic and community impacts among attendees at BIPOC and ALAANA organizations to the overall national average. These findings should initiate new, and escalate existing, critical funding conversations about BIPOC and ALAANA organizations receiving fair and proportional financial support.

Key figures from Pitt County’s AEP6 study include:

  • Pitt County nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $5,217,704 in event-related spending by its audiences.
  • The typical attendee spends $33.39 per person per event, not including the cost of admission.
  • 24.7% of arts and culture attendees were from outside the county in which the activity took place. They spent an average of $50.83. All vital income for local merchants.
  • 87.9% of respondents agreed that the activity or venue they were attending was “a source of neighborhood pride for the community.”
  • 78.3% said they would “feel a sense of loss if that activity or venue was no longer available.”

AEP6 demonstrates the significant economic and social benefits that arts and culture bring to their communities, states, and the nation. By measuring arts and culture’s wide-ranging impact, public and private sector leaders can work together to secure funding and arts-friendly policies that shape more vibrant and equitable communities.

The full report, a map of the 373 study regions, and a two-page economic impact summary for each, can be found at

About Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge

The Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Pitt County by promoting artists and arts organizations, educating through the arts, and making the arts accessible to the entire community. The Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge was founded in 2000 as Emerge Gallery. It has since grown in its role to being the local arts council for Pitt County, as well as in its size encompassing over 8,000 square feet in a historic building in the heart of Uptown Greenville. In 2009, Emerge became the Pitt County Arts Council focusing on supporting all the arts throughout Pitt County, working with countywide arts organizations, municipalities, and Pitt County Schools. Please call (252) 551-6947 or e-mail for more information.

Americans for the Arts

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. It was supported by The Ruth Lilly Endowment Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts' 297 study partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study, visit

*This article was adapted from a press release from the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge. To learn more, click here.