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Creative Economy

The Creative Economy Research Project was completed by HFA in 2009. Our objective was to measure the economic impact of our college and alumni on the local Pioneer Valley community.

What is the Creative Economy?

The creative economy encompasses individuals, organizations, and enterprises whose assets are creatively based. Examples of professions that make up the creative economy include: architects, artists, authors, dancers, editors, graphic, interior, web and game designers, arts and humanities teachers, musicians, singers, translators, and many more. Facts about the Creative Economy: 

  • America's nonprofit arts industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year, resulting in $29.6 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues. (Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences)
  • The creative sector employs 38 million Americans, or 30 percent of all employed people. (Source: Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class, 2002.)
  • In 2004, Americans donated more than $13.99 billion to the arts through individual giving, estates, foundations and corporations. (Source: Giving USA Foundation, Giving USA, 2005.)
  • More than half of U.S. adults participate in cultural tourism. In 2002, cultural tourists spent an average of $166 more per trip than tourists not participating in cultural activities. (Source: Travel Industry Association of America, The Historic/Cultural Traveler, 2003.)
  • In fiscal year 2008, state arts agencies invested $359.6 million in creating and sustaining arts infrastructures in communities across the nation. (Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Legislative Appropriations Annual Survey, FY08.)

Creative economy information courtesy of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

Our Findings


As a result of our study, we learned that HFA alumni generate 1/4 billion dollars of economic activity in the Pioneer Valley each year, provide 20,000 days of volunteer service, and 800 of them help lead the institutions that support the creative economy here. Download the Complete Results (PDF).