Get Arts Economic Impact Study for Your County–Grants Available

By Shannon Ford, Director of Community Arts Development –

The Tennessee Arts Commission is pleased to announce that local partner recruitment has begun for Americans for the Arts’ (AFTA) Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study!

This national study will measure the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences in 2022. As communities across the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tennessee Arts Commission has signed on to be a statewide study partner to demonstrate the vital importance of the nonprofit arts and cultural sector for reinvigorating community life and local economies. Local partners will play a key role in collecting data locally that will serve as a critical advocacy and branding tool for the State of Tennessee’s arts industry.

Local arts agencies, councils, or commissions that are private 501 (c)(3) nonprofits or local government entities are encouraged to participate as local partners. Partnership responsibilities include coordinating data collection with local arts organizations at events and signing an agreement with Americans for the Arts. More information about the study, local partner responsibilities, and timeline of the year-long study can be found at

Because of the Tennessee Arts Commissions participation, local partners can participate at the reduced rates below. In addition, the Commission has grants to cover 100% of the study fees in counties with populations under 350,000 through the Special Opportunities: AEP6 Grant. The Special Opportunities grant guidelines for AEP6 local partners are available at

Local study partner fees                       TN Rate      Down From

Counties w/ population
greater than 100,000                                     $4,500             $9,000

Counties w/ population
between 50,000-100,000                             $3,000             $6,000

Counties w/ population
less than 50,000                                             $1,800             $6,000

In 2015, the Tennessee Arts Commission recruited 25 local partners from all three regions of the state for the prior iteration of this study. Analysis of data collected by local partners showed that the nonprofit arts and culture sector in Tennessee generated $1.17 billion in total economic activity and supported over 38,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2015. Other highlights from the 2015 study include:

  • The sector generated $135.9 million in local and state government revenue
  • Nonprofit audiences spent more than $698 million in 2015
  • In-state residents spent an average of $23.99 per event in the community
  • Visiting out-of-state audience members spent an average of $73.95

To further discuss this study and its potential benefits to your community, please do not hesitate to contact Shannon Ford at or 615-532-9796. Organizations and agencies interested in joining the AEP6 study as a local partner must contact Ben Davidson, Senior Director of Research Services at Americans for the Arts, by email at to initiate a local partner agreement.