Dayton’s Culture Works facilitated the region’s participation in Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), the most recent economic impact study conducted by the national arts advocacy organization, Americans for the Arts. On January 22 and 23, Culture Works, the Dayton region’s arts advocacy and funding organization and a CreativeOhio member, hosted a series of presentations with Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research at Americans for the Arts.

CreativeOhio’s Executive Director & CEO, Sarah Sisser, attended the event to represent our members. 

Photo of Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research at Americans for the Arts speaking at event hosted by Dayton Ohio's Culture Works. Photo of presentation.

Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research at Americans for the Arts speaking at event hosted by Dayton Ohio’s Culture Works.

The national results of the study were released in October 2023 (and are available in our Advocacy Toolkit). The January presentations showcased details specific to the Dayton region. 

A few Ohio-specific takeaways:

  • Arts strengthen the economy. The nation’s arts and culture sector—nonprofit, commercial, education—is a $1.02 trillion industry that supports 4.9 million jobs (2021). That is 4.4% of the nation’s economy. In Ohio, arts and culture is a $23.9 billion industry—3.2% of the state economy—and supports 158,206 jobs (bigger than utilities, education, and agriculture).

  • The arts accelerate economic recovery. A growth in arts employment has a positive and causal effect on overall employment. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). The Dayton region’s nonprofit arts industry alone generates $239.4 million in economic activity—spending by organizations and their audiences—which supports 4,490 jobs and generates $42.8 million in local, state, and federal government revenue (2022).

  • Arts drive tourism and revenue to local businesses. Attendees at Dayton Region’s nonprofit arts and culture events spend an average of $21.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission, on items such as meals, parking, and lodging—vital income for local businesses. 17% of attendees live outside of the four-county region (Clark, Greene, Miami, and Montgomery Counties); they average $32.85 in event-related spending. Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences.  


The data shows that investment in the nonprofit arts and culture industry builds the communities where people want to live and work. It is where entrepreneurs and creative economy businesses are launched and where nighttime economies flourish. When we prioritize diverse cultural expressions and traditions, it nurtures social connections, promotes community pride and identity, and boosts tourism by providing the authentic experiences that draw visitors to the community. If visitors have a positive experience, it may become a place to work—and ultimately one in which to live. Creating livable communities is economic development.

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