Economic Development

The North Carolina Arts Council works to benefit North Carolina citizens and communities through the arts. Our core functions include:

  • Creating a strong and efficient Arts Infrastructure across the state

  • Planning and implementing arts-based Economic Development

  • Education in and with the arts

Discover the Arts Council’s arts-based economic development programs:

  • Cultural Tourism
    Developing North Carolina as a leading cultural tourism destination builds the state’s Creative Economy. The Arts Council focuses on arts and cultural assets of national and international significance. Cultural tourism development guided by the Arts Council staff requires planning, fundraising and field work by folklorists to produce resource inventories; writing, editing and publishing cultural trail guidebooks; creating websites, maps, and other tourism products used by visitors to North Carolina; and promoting the cultural destinations both statewide and nationally.
  • Vibrant Communities
    The SmART Initiative provides intensive assistance to revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods using the arts to spur private development and economic growth. Collaboration of local government, private sector partners and arts and cultural organizations is a requirement of participation. Arts Council staff assembles and manages resource teams to develop plans and then assists in project planning and implementation, oversight and evaluation. Wilson, Durham, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Burnsville are currently part of the program and 20 other cities and towns have applied or indicated strong interest.
  •  A Creative Economy
    The Arts Council has conducted research on the impact of the arts on the state’s economy for more than four decades. We provide models and statistics documenting the impact of the state’s arts industry on North Carolina’s economy. Staff evaluates and analyzes findings from the Creative Vitality Index and the Arts and Economic Prosperity Study to present to the arts industry, North Carolina media and the general public. The Arts Council raises public awareness about the value and benefits of the arts and brands North Carolina as the Creative State, which has proven successful in attracting creative industries and visitors.
  • Creativity at Work
    Creative North Carolina includes nonprofit arts, humanities and cultural organizations; audiences and cultural travelers; businesses producing innovative goods and artists, creative workers and entrepreneurs. The Creative Workforce and the Creative Industry are the backbone of arts-based economic development throughout the state.