Economic Development

Creative enterprises and entrepreneurs are rooted in the cultural traditions of North Carolina and have always contributed to North Carolina's strong creative economy. Combined with an arts infrastructure that stretches across the state into all 100 counties, the arts in North Carolina create jobs, generate tax revenues, create products, consumer spending and cultural tourism.

Programs of the North Carolina Arts Council that stimulate and revitalize the state's communities include the SmART Initiative and cultural tourism. Through an ongoing research and evaluation program we document the impact of the Creative Economy in our state.

North Carolina's arts infrastructure builds vibrant communities from the mountains to the coast and enhances quality of life that makes our communities places where people want to live, work and visit.


Economic Impact

Visit our Research section for more details


Quick links:

The SmART Intiative

Cultural Tourism


Direct jobs — creative occupations increased by 13.6 percent from 2006 to 2013 from 126,494 to 143,730 jobs or 2.6 percent of North Carolina’s workforce.

Workforce contributions — North Carolina's creative industries employ more than 336,000 jobs, over 6 percent of North Carolina’s workforce, which generate $14 billion in wages.

Economic growth — The creative industries account for $9 billion in exports.

Tourism — Arts travelers spend more money and stay longer.