In December, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released preliminary estimates from the nation’s first Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account. The account is meant to trace the relationship of arts and cultural industries, goods, and services to the nation’s ultimate measure of economic growth, its gross domestic product.
The numbers are still a work in progress. In this context, "arts education" refers only to postsecondary fine-arts schools, departments of fine arts and performing arts, and academic performing-arts centers. Yet even for this limited cohort, the findings are impressive:
The total economic output (gross revenue and expenses) for arts education in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, was $104-billion. Arts education thus claims the second largest share of output for all U.S. arts and cultural commodities, after the creative services within advertising. In 2011, arts education added $7.6-billion to the nation’s GDP. In that year alone, arts education as an industry employed 17,900 workers whose salaries and wages totaled $5.9-billion. For every dollar consumers spend on arts education, an additional 56 cents is generated elsewhere in the U.S. economy.