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Research into the value and impact of the arts is a core function of the National Endowment for the Arts. Through accurate, relevant, and timely analyses and reports, the Arts Endowment elucidates the factors, conditions, and characteristics of the U.S. arts ecosystem and the impact of the arts on other domains of American life.

The NEA has four priority areas of research:

  1. What are the measurable impacts of the arts on the following outcome areas ?
    • Health and wellness for individuals
    • Cognition and learning
    • Economic growth and innovation
  2. In what ways do the arts contribute to the healing and revitalization of communities?
  3. What is the state of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the arts?
  4. How is the U.S. arts ecosystem adapting and responding to social, economic, and technological changes and challenges to the sector?

NEA Research Agenda: FY 2022-2026

Infographic of high-level research priorities

Research Agenda Planning Study

Research Stories

  • Quick Study Podcast: This monthly audio feature uses research to explore the arts sector and to demonstrate the arts’ value in everyday life.
  • Measure for Measure: Monthly arts research blog post.

Arts Research & Data

Research Publications
NEA-produced in-depth reports and analyses of research topics in the arts, such as:

Measuring the Arts 
The National Arts Statistics and Evidence-based Reporting Center (NASERC) is an online hub for monitoring the U.S. arts ecosystem through a series of national indicators, and for accessing data-driven guides and reports aimed at arts practitioners. See NASERC's launch webinar.

National Archive of Data on Arts Culture (NADAC)
An online repository of arts and cultural datasets, for analysis by scholars, arts managers, and policy leaders. A webinar tour is now available

Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA) 
The NEA partners with the Bureau of Economic Analysis (U.S. Department of Commerce) to provide annual reports of the economic impact of arts and culture in the United States. 

Arts Data Profile Series
Collections of statistics, graphics, and summary results from data-mining about the arts. Examples include datasets from the Survey for Public Participation on the Arts (SPPA), the Arts Basic Survey (ABS), the American Community Survey (ACS), and more.

Research Grants in the Arts Study Findings
Working papers, publications, and presentations that so far have resulted from NEA Research Grants in the Arts funding. Topics include economy/workforce, arts participation, health, and education.

Research Labs
Information on the NEA's current Research Labs, transdisciplinary research teams, grounded in the social and behavioral sciences, engaging with the NEA five-year research agenda. 


The NEA’ Research Awards cover two funding opportunities for research projects that engage with the NEA’s five-year research agenda:

Research Grants in the Arts: Support for research studies that investigate the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life.

Research Labs: Transdisciplinary research teams investigating the value and impact of the arts.


Sound Health Network
A partnership of the NEA with the University of California, San Francisco in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Renée Fleming, the center’s artistic advisor. The Sound Health Network (SHN) was established to promote research and public awareness about the impact of music on health and wellness. Visit SHN’s website for a database of key scientific publications on music and health research, webinars, funding opportunities, and more.

Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network
An initiative of the NEA in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs that seeks to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers. Creative Forces is investing in research on the impacts and benefits—physical, social, and emotional—of these innovative treatment methods. Visit Creative Forces’ National Resource Center to learn more and to read all research associated with Creative Forces.

Arts & Human Development Task Force
From 2011-2023, this federal interagency task force encouraged research on the arts and human potential.

Additional Resources

Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement
Links to online resources about program evaluation and performance measurement for arts organizations.

UMass Amherst NEA Archives Collection
A digitization of more than 40 years of publications on the arts and arts management.

Research Convenings (archived)
National gatherings with researchers and arts and community experts.