Survey Claims Arts Generate More than $51 Million in Economic Activity in Princeton

Scott Shepherd in Gatz at McCarter Theatre in 2011. The Arts Council estimates that the arts generate $51 million annually in economic activity in Princeton. Photo by Mark Barton for McCarter Theatre.

According to a survey conducted by the Arts Council of Princeton, the arts and culture industry in Princeton created $51.3 million in economic activity last year, supported 2,907 full time jobs, and generated $5.6 million in local and state taxes and fees.

The Arts Council participated in the economic impact study called the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study, a national survey that combines data from participating nonprofit organizations and their audiences. The results were reported last week at the annual convention of Americans for the Arts in San Antonio.

Sixteen Princeton nonprofit arts and cultural organizations participated in the study. More than 800 attendees of arts and cultural events in Princeton were surveyed as part of the national initiative organized by Americans for the Arts.

“We all understand that the arts are important to the culture of our community,” Arts Council Executive Director Jeff Nathanson said in a press release about the project. “This study illustrates that arts and cultural events also provide a significant positive impact on the local economy.”

Princeton was one of 182 participating study regions for 2011. Based on results from the study, the national total for revenue generated by the arts and culture industry is estimated to be $135.2 billion.

Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for  the Arts, said the study shines a light on the vital role the arts play in sustaining economic development.

“Contrary to popular belief, the arts are a bustling industry that supports a plethora of diverse jobs, generates significant revenue for local businesses and to federal, state and local governments and provides quality of life that positions communities to compete in our  21st century creative economy,” he said.

In Princeton, the following arts and culture organizations participated in the study by providing both audience and organizational surveys: the American Repertory Ballet/Princeton Ballet School, the Arts Council of Princeton, the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra, the Guild for Early Music, the Historical Society of Princeton, McCarter Theatre, Morven Museum & Garden, Opera New Jersey, the  Princeton Girlchoir, the Princeton Public Library, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, the Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton University Concerts, the Princeton Festival,  and Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

Princeton University funded the Princeton study. The Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Princeton Borough, the Lewis Center for the Arts, Westminster Choir College, and the Princeton Area Arts and Culture Consortium participated in planning the study.

For more information on the Princeton study visit and click on the AFTA graphic. The full text of the national statistical report is available at