The arts are an economic & employment powerhouse in Buncombe County!

On Saturday, June 17 the Americans for the Arts released the Arts & Economic Prosperity V (AEP5) study finding the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $68 million industry in Buncombe County! This spending supports 2,233 full-time equivalent jobs and generates over $7.3 million in local and state government revenue.

Non-profit arts and culture organizations, which spend $26.4 million annually, leverage a remarkable $42.5 million in additional spending by arts and culture audiences – spending that pumps vital revenue into local restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and other businesses. Supporting arts and culture not only enhances our quality of life, but also invests in Buncombe County’s economic well-being!

Thank you to all the organizations and volunteers who helped the Asheville Area Arts Council and the Americans for the Arts collect this data for Buncombe County. Help us spread the message to the Asheville/Buncombe County community that the arts are a vital part of our collective identity and our economic prosperity. Download the full Buncombe County results  and make use of the documents below to help get the word out!

AEP5 Buncombe County Highlights

AEP5 Buncombe County Brochure Insert

AEP5 Buncombe County Full Report

$68 million

2,233

$7.3 million

The arts generate
$68 million in economic activity in Buncombe County
The arts support
2,233 full-time equivalent jobs in Buncombe County
The arts generate
$7.3 million in local and state revenue in
Buncombe County

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) Buncombe County Results

Organization: Americans for the Arts

Year of Data: 2015

Frequency of Study: Every 5 years

“The nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $68 million industry in Buncombe County. This spending— $26.4 million by non-profit arts and cultural organizations and an additional $42.5 million in event-related spending by their audiences—supports 2,233 full-time equivalent jobs and generates over $7.3 million in local and state government revenue.”

“Attendees to cultural events spend an average of $51.80 per person, per event as a result of their attendance, excluding the cost of admission. For example, when patrons attend a cultural event, they may pay to park their car, eat dinner in a restaurant, shop in nearby stores, and pay a babysitter when they get home. Non-local attendees often spend the night in a hotel. Local businesses that cater to cultural audiences reap the rewards of this economic activity.”

“Non-resident attendees spend more per person than local attendees ($85.13 vs. $27.81) as a direct result of their attendance to cultural events. As would be expected from a traveler, higher spending was typically found in the categories of lodging, meals, and transportation. When a community attracts cultural tourists, it harnesses significant economic rewards.”

64.4 percent of non-resident attendees report that the primary reason for their trip to Asheville/Buncombe County was specifically to attend this arts/cultural event. Clearly, the arts are a powerful attraction that brings out of town audiences—and their discretionary spending—to our community.”

49.5 percent of non-resident attendees report if the event where they were surveyed had not occurred, they would have traveled to a different community in order to attend a similar cultural experience. In fact, 41.1 percent of resident attendees report the same—they would have left home and traveled to a different community to attend a similar cultural experience. If our community fails to invest in a variety of artistic and cultural experiences, not only will we fail to attract new dollars from cultural tourists, but we will also lose the discretionary spending of our own residents.”