Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP 6) is a nationwide research study by Americans for the Arts (AFTA) that evaluates the impact of spending by nonprofit arts and humanities organizations and their audiences on local economies.

The nonprofit arts and humanities sector is a vital, growing, and impactful segment of Montgomery County’s diverse economy.  The results from Montgomery County’s participation in the national Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study documents the key role played by the nonprofit arts and culture industry and their audiences in strengthening the County’s economy.


Local Economic Impact of the Creative Industries

In 2022, nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences generated $183.8 million in economic activity in Montgomery County—$124.5 million in spending by the organizations, which leveraged an additional $59.3 million in event-related spending by their audiences. This economic activity supported 3,963 jobs and generated $34.6 million in federal, state and local tax revenue.

Spending by arts and culture organizations drives the economy

AEP 6 Cultural Audiences Economic Impact on Montgomery County

When people attend a cultural event, they often make an outing of it—dining at a restaurant, paying for parking or public transportation, enjoying dessert after the show, and returning home to pay for child or pet care. Attendees at Montgomery County’s nonprofit arts and culture events spend $23.06 per person per event, beyond the cost of admission—vital income for local merchants and a value-add that few industries can compete with. Arts and culture organizations also strengthen the visitor economy: 36.8% of Montgomery County’s arts attendees travel from outside Montgomery County; these cultural tourists spend an average of $29.30 per person. When asked, 88.4% of those nonlocal attendees reported that the primary purpose of their visit was “specifically to attend the performance, event, exhibit, venue, or facility” where they were surveyed.


Arts and culture are a fundamental component of livable communities—beautifying cities and towns, bringing joy to residents, and celebrating diverse cultural expressions and traditions. It powers the creative communities where people want to live and work, entrepreneurs and innovation thrive, and businesses and nighttime economies flourish. Shared cultural experiences strengthen a sense of belonging and community pride.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 delivers a clear and welcome message: when communities invest in arts and culture, they are not investing in community development at the expense of economic development. Rather, they are investing in an industry that stimulates the economy, supports local jobs, and contributes to building healthy, vibrant, and more livable communities. When we support the arts and humanities, we invest in both Montgomery County’s economic and community well-being.

Downloadable Reports [PDF]



About Arts and Economic Prosperity 6

Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP 6) is a nationwide research study by Americans for the Arts (AFTA) that evaluates the impact of spending by nonprofit arts and humanities organizations and their audiences on local economies.

In 2020, Americans for the Arts published a call for communities interested in participating in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study. The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) responded to that call in concert with 5 other local arts councils in the National Capital Region.

AEP6 documents the economic and social contributions of arts and culture in 373 diverse communities and regions representing all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The study areas range in population from 4,000 to 4 million and represent rural, suburban, and urban communities.

To measure industry spending, local and statewide research partners representing the 373 study regions collected expenditure and attendance data from 16,399 arts and culture organizations and the event-related spending information from 224,667 of their attendees. Using the IMPLAN economic modeling platform, input-output analysis models were customized for each study region to ensure reliable data and actionable results. According to AEP 6, the nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences generated $151.7 billion in economic activity—$73.3 billion in spending by the organizations, which leveraged an additional $78.4 billion in event- related spending by their audiences. The impact of this economic activity is far reaching, supporting 2.6 million jobs, generating $29.1 billion in tax revenue, and providing $101 billion in personal income to residents. AEP6 sends a strong signal that when we support the arts, we are investing in an industry that strengthens the economy and builds more livable communities.

As a study participant, Montgomery County was provided with a full local report on the economic impact of the arts and humaniteis on our community all linked in the results section of this page. 

How this data was tabulated

Each of the 297 research partners identified the universe of nonprofit arts and culture organizations located in their region using the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entity (NTEE) coding system as a guideline. The NTEE system— developed by the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute—is a definitive classification system for nonprofit organizations recognized as tax exempt by the Internal Revenue Code. This system divides the entire universe of nonprofit organizations into 10 major categories, including “Arts, Culture, and Humanities.” The IRS Business Master File lists approximately 116,000 nonprofit arts and culture organizations registered with the IRS in 2022. Researchers, in collaboration with their local and statewide partners, collected surveys from 16,399 organizations and 224,677 attendees to provide a measure of total industry spending. Using the IMPLAN platform, input-output models were customized for all 373 study regions. These quantitative models measure the economic relationships between hundreds of different industries in each region. Reports were prepared for each of the 373 study regions, and national estimates were made for the nation as a whole.

For more information about AEP 6’s research methodology, download Americans for the Arts’ Detailed Study Methodology Guide.

List of participating organizations

In Montgomery County, 94  nonprofit or civic arts and culture organizations participated in this study.

The organizations that participated are below:

  • Action Youth Media (Formerly Gandhi Brigade)
  • Adventure Theatre
  • AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
  • After School Dance Fund
  • Akhmedova Ballet Foundation
  • Artpreneurs (dba Arts on the Block)
  • Arts And Humanities Council of Montgomery County
  • Association of Russian-Speaking Theater
  • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Bel Cantanti Opera Company
  • Bender JCC Of Greater Washington
  • Bethesda Historical Society
  • Cantate
  • Chinese Culture and Community Service Center
  • Clancy Works
  • Community Building Art Works
  • Create Arts Center
  • Creative Crafts Council
  • DC Beauty of Beijing Opera
  • DOCs in Progress
  • Ebong Theatrix
  • Edge of the Universe Players 2
  • Estonian American National Council
  • Flying V
  • Friday Night Dancers
  • Friends of the Library Montgomery County MD
  • Germantown Cultural Arts Center
  • Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture
  • Glorystar Music Education and Cultural Foundation
  • Groupo Folklorico Raices Hondurenas USA
  • Halau Nohona Hawaii
  • Happenstance Theater
  • House of Djeli
  • Imagination Stage
  • Interact Story Theatre Education Association
  • Interplay Orchestra
  • Kalanidhi Dance
  • Kallion Leadership
  • Kolot Halev
  • Laberinto Projects
  • Levine Music
  • Lumina Studio Theatre
  • Marlow Guitar International
  • Maryland Writers Association
  • Maryland Youth Ballet
  • Menare Foundation
  • Metropolitan Ballet Theatre
  • Montgomery County Historical Society (dba Montgomery History)
  • Montgomery Philharmonic
  • Montgomery Symphony Orchestra
  • National Capital Historical Museum of Transportation
  • National Council for the Traditional Arts
  • National Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorale of Montgomery County
  • NIH Community Orchestra
  • NIH Philharmonia
  • Olney Jazz Troupe
  • Olney Theatre Center for the Arts
  • Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation
  • Persian Arts & Cultutral Communities (dba PACC )
  • Photoworks
  • Rockville Brass Band; Round House Theatre
  • Sherwood Community Chamber Choir
  • Shu Ren Education
  • Silver Spring Stage
  • Silver Spring Town Center
  • So What Else
  • Soul in Motion Players
  • Story Tapestries
  • Strathmore Hall Foundation
  • Sutradhar Institute of Dance and Related Arts
  • Tagore Music Group of Greater Washington DC
  • Takoma Park Folk Festival
  • The Chevy Chase Historical Society
  • The Civic Circle
  • The Dance Exchange
  • The Kentlands Community Foundation
  • The Living Legends Awards for Service to Humanity
  • The Montgomery Playhouse
  • The National String Symphonia
  • The Writer’s Center
  • Theatre Consortium of Silver Spring
  • Theatre Pages
  • Urban Artistry
  • Victorian Lyric Opera Company
  • Washington Conservatory of Music
  • Washington Metropolitan Gamer Symphony Orchestra
  • Wheaton Film Festival
  • Wheaton Wonders
  • Word Dance Theatre
  • World Folk Music Association
  • Young Artists of America
  • Zeitgeist Media