Brookings Institution Publishes Research on the Arts and Economic Development

Publication based on symposium co-hosted by the NEA and the Brookings Institution

WASHINGTON, DC - Just released by the Brookings Institution, Creative Communities: Art Works in Economic Development is a new publication based on a collaborative effort with the National Endowment for the Arts to stimulate more rigorous research on the arts and economic development. 

Urban and regional planners, elected officials, and other decisionmakers are increasingly focused on what makes places livable. Access to the arts inevitably appears high on that list, but knowledge about how culture and the arts can act as a tool of economic development is often lacking.  How do we look at the arts sector as an integrated part of local economies and not just as a source of amenities or diversions? Creative Communities uses original data produced through quantitative and qualitative research to provide a greater understanding of how art works as an engine for transforming communities.

"We all know intuitively that the arts can help strengthen communities, but we need more solid economic data and analysis to back up those claims," said NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. Through its Office of Research & Analysis, "the NEA is honored to have partnered with the Brookings Institution in co-sponsoring a symposium and its result: a publication of new studies that measure the economic impact of the arts."  

This publication stems from a first-ever collaboration between the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Brookings Institution. The two organizations co-hosted the May 2012 symposium titled "The Arts, New Growth Theory, and Economic Development,” where leading economists explored theories and empirical findings about the role of arts and culture in the U.S. economy. Archived video of the symposium is available at the Brookings website.

This event is part of a new direction for NEA research: to convene more gatherings and conduct more research on the value and impact of the arts in other domains of American life, such as education, health and well-being, community livability, and economic prosperity. Another recent economic research endeavor is a landmark partnership between the NEA and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to develop an "Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account" that will identify and calculate the arts and culture sector's contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Contributors to Creative Communities are:

Hasan Bakhshi (Nesta UK) 
Elisa Barbour (University of California, Berkeley) 
Shiri M. Breznitz (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Roland J. Kushner (Muhlenberg College) 
Rex LaMore (Michigan State University) 
James Lawton (Michigan State University) 
Neil Lee (Nesta UK) 
Richard G. Maloney (Boston University) 
Ann Markusen (University of Minnesota) 
Juan Mateos-Garcia (Nesta UK) 
Anne Gadwa Nicodemus (Metris Arts Consulting) 
Douglas S. Noonan (Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis) 
Peter Pedroni (Williams College) 
Amber Peruski (Michigan State University) 
Michele Root-Bernstein (Michigan State) 
Robert Root-Bernstein (Michigan State) 
Eileen Roraback (Michigan State) 
Michael Rushton (Indiana University) 
Lauren Schmitz (New School for Social Research) 
Jenny Schuetz (University of Southern California) 
John Schweitzer (Michigan State) 
Stephen Sheppard (Williams College)
Megan VanDyke (Michigan State) 
Gregory H. Wassall (Northeastern University).

Creative Communities: Art Works in Economic Development is available at Brookings Institution Press. For review copies, please contact Brookings Institution Press Publicity Assistant Natalie Fullenkamp at

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at


Sally Gifford