Pictured: Rural Nebraska skyline

Arts Impact

Think about the magic of being transported by a favorite song or getting lost in the brush strokes of a beautiful painting. It’s a priceless experience, isn’t it?

Our work at Nebraska Arts Council has shown us firsthand that in addition to their emotional significance, the arts also play an important role in bolstering the state’s economy. In fact, creative industries add an astonishing 27,000 jobs and $2.7 billion to Nebraska’s economy!

Employers are artistically minded too—when hiring, 72% of business leaders say that creativity is the number one skill they seek. We see similar trends in the national economy as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Americans for the Arts, arts and cultural production contributed $764 billion in 2015.

This represents 4.2% of the GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation, tourism, or construction. Let’s break down the impact of art further.

Culture and Community Building

The arts provide meaning to our lives.

69% of Americans believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences.”

73% feel the arts give them, “pure pleasure to experience and participate in.”

81% say the arts are “a positive experience in a troubled world.”

72% of Americans attended an arts or cultural event within the last year, such as the theater, museum, or a musical performance.

Cultural institutions add value to our community.

90% of people believe cultural facilities (theaters, museums, sculpture parks, neighborhood arts centers) improve quality of life.

The arts unify our communities.

According to Americans for the Arts’ Public Opinion Reports, 72% of people believe, “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity.”

73% agree that the arts, “helps me understand other cultures better.”

70% of Americans enjoy the arts in “non-traditional” venues, such as a symphony in the park, performances in an airport, or exhibitions in a hospital or shopping mall.


Art is a part of how we learn.

According to the Americans for the Arts, 91% agree that the arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education.

93% say the arts should also be taught outside of the classroom.

Students who take arts and music classes average 93 points higher on their SAT scores.

Low-income children who receive arts education are five times less likely to drop out of school.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, arts and cultural production contributed $764 billion to the nation’s economy in 2015. This represents 4.2 percent of the GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation, tourism, or construction.

The arts and cultural sector supported 4.9 million jobs in 2015, up from 4.8 million in 2014.

Arts and culture had a $21 billion international trade surplus in 2015.

Every $1 that government invests in the arts leverages an additional $9 in local match, private contributions, and earned income.