Arts and Culture Industry Generates $6.1 Billion for Texas Economy, Study Says

by Texas Cultural Trust

State of the Arts Report shows the arts are critical to Texas by fueling the economy, increasing academic success, and improving health and well-being

AUSTIN, TX (March 24, 2021) – The Texas Cultural Trust (TXCT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining and increasing support for a vibrant Texas where the arts encourage economic growth, creativity, and excellence, today announced the findings of a study conducted by leading researchers.

The 2021 State of the Arts Report, supported by the Houston Endowment, is the latest iteration of a biennial study and provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of the Arts and Culture Industry in Texas. The report quantifies the social and economic value of the arts; degree of arts access within Texas schools and communities; and highlights the increased use of arts in improving health and well-being and enhancing social and emotional learning (SEL).

Key findings from the study include:

  • The Texas Arts and Culture Industry has grown more than 30% over the past decade, generating $6.1 billion for the Texas economy, totaling nearly $380 million in state sales tax revenue, and $50.1 billion in gross domestic product in 2019.
  • The creative sector employs nearly 900,000 Texans, representing one in 15 jobs.
  • The impact of public grant funding for Cultural Districts far surpassed the state’s initial investment.
  • The arts boost tourism. In 2019, Texas tourism spending surpassed $83 billion. Not only do art and culture tourists stay longer and spend more, nearly one in four visitors participate in cultural tourism when traveling in Texas.
  • High school students who complete more arts courses are twice as likely to graduate22% more likely to attend college, and have up to 15% higher pass rates on standardized tests than students with fewer arts courses.
  • Arts education access is not equitable. Rural schools offer 70% less arts courses than Suburban schools. Students in high-poverty schools have less access to the arts than students in low-poverty schools.
  • Young adults who had more arts experiences in high school are more likely to show civic-minded behavior than young adults who had less.
  • Attending a cultural event once every few months can result in a 32% lower risk of developing depression.

While the 2021 State of the Arts Report demonstrates how the arts and culture can power the Texas economy, quantifying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be substantially different. The long-term effects of the pandemic are unknown, but the Trust believes the Arts and Culture Industry can reignite Texas by creating jobs, generating significant tax revenue, boosting tourism, attracting business, revitalizing communities, and improving the quality of life for all Texans.

Preliminary data for 2020 Q1 and Q2 shows:

  • An estimated loss of$2 billion in taxable sales created by Arts and Culture Industries;
  • An estimated loss of $127 million in sales tax revenue created by Arts and Culture Industries; and
  • A42% reduction in Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue, which supports local art

“Our state is poised for incredible economic growth through the arts and, with investment and policy leadership, our opportunities are endless,” says Leslie Ward, president of AT&T Texas and TXCT board chair.

Heidi Marquez Smith, TXCT chief executive officer, emphasizes the need for continued support of the Arts and Culture Industry, especially while the State Legislature considers the elimination of the one Fine Arts credit from high school graduation requirements and cutting funding for Texas Commission on the Arts’ Cultural District Grants. “These challenging times have magnified the power of the arts – as an emotional salve, a form of expression, a reflection of current events, a universal language, a uniting force, and a symbol of hope. But the arts have also proven to be a consistent, reliable source of revenue for our state over the last decade. We must oppose any legislation that would negatively impact our economy, communities, and way of life.

For more information on the Texas Cultural Trust, Art Can, and the 2021 State of the Arts Report, visit

Supporters of Art Can and the 2021 State of the Arts Report include: The Houston Endowment;The CH Foundation; theWoody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation; and Leslie and Jack Blanton, Jr.

Organizational Sponsors include: AT&T; Sarah & Ernest Butler; The Tobin Endowment; Four Hands Home; The University of Texas College of Fine Arts; Anheuser-Busch; Frost Bank; Judy & Kirk Robison; Ray Benson; Lidia Porto; Texas Monthly; The Texas Tribune; and the Houston Ballet. 


The Texas Cultural Trust, established in 1995, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and increasing access and awareness for the arts across the state. Programs of the organization include the Texas Medal of Arts Awards, Arts Access, Art Can, Texas Young Masters, Texas Women for the Arts, and Partners in the Arts. Efforts are amplified by supporters who are instrumental in the success of leading a cohesive voice for the arts in education, advocacy, and economic impact in Texas, spotlighting the artistic excellence of the state. For more information, visit

About Art Can
Through Art Can, the Texas Cultural Trust conducts research and produces and publishes data quantifying the economic and educational impact of the arts in Texas. Art Can analyzes employment and wages within the creative sector, along with tax revenue and tourism spending pertaining to arts and culture. Art Can also studies individual school districts, analyzing student access to arts education and its relation to academic outcome and overall success. The findings are unequivocal, highlighting the arts as vital to the development of young minds and a strong economy. In this way, Art Can serves as an invaluable resource for Texas parents, educators, the public, policy makers and private entities. The data culled informs all Texas Cultural Trust programs and spurs the development of new initiatives to increase public funding and support for arts and culture in the state. For more information, visit

Giant Noise PR 
(512) 382-9017

Related Posts