Delaware’s Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry Generates $149.9 Million in Economic Activity and Supports over 4,000 Jobs

WASHINGTON (June 22, 2017) — Delaware’s arts and culture industry generates $149.9 million in annual economic activity by supporting 4,062 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $10.5 million in local and state government revenues, according to the latest Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study, which was released on June 17 at the Americans for the Arts’ annual conference in San Francisco.

“This report demonstrates that the arts continue to be an important economic driver in Delaware, providing jobs for our citizens, generating business for our restaurants and other small enterprises, and tax revenue for our state and local governments. In addition to the important economic impacts, the arts benefit all Delawareans from children to senior citizens across the socioeconomic spectrum, and from rural communities to the cities,” says J. Mack Wathen, chair of the Delaware State Arts Council.

Results show that nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $103.6 million during fiscal year 2015. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated $111.6 million in household income for local residents and a $10.5 million in local and state government revenues, which is approximately a 3:1 return on investment. The Delaware Division of the Arts receives state funding approximately $3 million for grants to support arts and community-based organizations, schools and individual artists.

Arts Industry Boon for Local Businesses

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages $46.3 million (excluding the cost of admission) in event-related spending by its audiences. As a result of attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. What’s more, attendees from out of town often stay overnight in a local hotel, which helps support local tourism offices.

“The report confirms that the arts mean business for Delaware. Investment in the arts contributes to a stronger economy and improved quality of life which attracts a talented workforce to Delaware. Delaware has countless arts and cultural events at any given time as seen in, an online calendar managed by the Delaware Division of the Arts. Corporations, small businesses and individuals looking for a vibrant location to call home should look to Delaware as a place to settle,” says Guillermina Gonzalez, executive director of the Delaware Arts Alliance.

In Delaware, 95 of the 135 eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations participated in this study—an overall participation rate of 70.4 percent. A list of the participating organizations can be found in the full report. In addition to organizational data, a total of 1,417 valid audience-intercept surveys were collected from attendees to nonprofit arts and cultural performances, events, and exhibitions during 2016.

The full report and one-page summary can be found at:

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. Financial information from organizations was collected in partnership with DataArts™, using a new online survey interface. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, visit


Contact: Leeann Wallett, Program Officer, Communications and Marketing

The Art$ Mean Bu$iness – Arts and Economic Prosperity is the Theme of October Event

Delaware artists, arts administrators, community leaders, educators, elected officials, and citizens speaking up for the arts will convene for a special presentation, The Art$ Mean Bu$iness, on October 2nd at 3 p.m. at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts. First Lady Carla Markell will make opening remarks. The event is organized by the Delaware Division of the Arts and the Delaware Arts Alliance.

Results from the recent Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study showed Delaware’s nonprofit arts industry generates $142.3 million in annual economic activity in the state. “People may be surprised by the significance of the economic impact in this study. What it indicates is that a healthy arts sector is an important contributor to Delaware’s overall economy,” said Paul Weagraff, Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts. “The Art$ Mean Bu$iness event is intended to highlight findings of the report and present ways in which this information can be used to shape policy and discourse about the role that the arts play in Delaware’s economy.”

Special guest Nina Ozlu Tunceli from Americans for the Arts will answer questions from moderators Rhonda Graham, News Journal Editorial Board Member, and Liane Hansen, Advisor, Delaware First Media, about the study and discuss how the results can be used by Delawareans to promote support for the arts on the local, state, and national level.

“Nina Ozlu Tunceli is a powerful and passionate advocate for the arts on the national scene. We are thrilled to have her come to the First State to discuss economic impact and advocacy,” said Guillermina Gonzalez, Director of the Delaware Arts Alliance.

The event is free and the public is invited to attend. Interested citizens can sign up via the Division’s website,, and follow the conversation on Twitter using #DEartsbiz.