Community Arts by the Numbers

One big complaint among arts nonprofits is that we have trouble with numbers. No we’re not just bad at math. What we have trouble with is turning the results of our creative, inspirational, community-building projects into data for funders. Every grant request nowadays and a lot of individual donors want to know how much impact we’re having and they’d much rather have cold, hard statistics than pretty pictures (we’re good at pretty pictures). So, here’s what we can say to those funders: lots and lots of research has focused on what hard data there is about community based arts programming and it’s pretty convincing.

For example:

According to the College Board, high school students who take 4 years of arts and music classes score 91 points better on their SATs than students who take a half year or less.

A study showed that the more arts classes a student has taken, on average, the higher his or her SAT scores will be.

A study by Americans for the Arts showed that arts education dramatically increases communication skills among school age children and decreases instances of delinquency.

According to the Arizona Commission on the Arts (they have tons of useful data for arts organizations) the arts and culture industry supports 50,000 jobs in Arizona alone. Nationally, the arts generate $166.2 billion every year in economic activity.