Visual and Performing Arts, Culture Add $25 Million and 762 Jobs to Pittsfield Economy Annually

Study says: the impact of arts and culture on the local economy is significant, and is growing rapidly. The word is spreading, too. Numerous websites now cover the cultural scene in the Berkshires.

Local Financial Impact Has Increased Over 40% in Past Five Years

Pittsfield, MA: The nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $25.3 million in annual economic activity in the city of Pittsfield—supporting 762 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $2.2 million in local and state government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV national economic impact study. The most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education.

According to the study, nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Pittsfield spent $12.9 million during fiscal year 2010. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Cultural event attendees spent an additional $12.8 million in Pittsfield in FY 2010. Together those dollars generated $14.3 million in household income for local residents, with 56 cents of every dollar going into local paychecks.

Pittsfield was one of 182 communities and regions nationwide to participate in the study, and the only one in Massachusetts. The City of Pittsfield previously participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity III study five years ago, which looked at FY 2005 data.

Compared to 2005, the national results of the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study of 2010 showed a slight decline in the economic activity of the arts sector nationally, due to the largest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, the economic impact of the arts in the city of Pittsfield increased significantly over the past five years. Every major category, from jobs created to revenue generated, showed increases of over 40% – sometimes over 50% – from 2005 to 2010 in Pittsfield.

While the study delineates the directly quantifiable economic impact of the arts and culture sector, the benefits of a robust local arts industry have far-reaching positive effects on Pittsfield’s quality of life and attractiveness to new residents, businesses and visitors. Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi noted, “Pittsfield is now defined by its artistic and cultural offerings in the same way that we are known for our beautiful scenery. This matters on so many levels. We are fortunate to have constant access to shows, productions and galleries that lift everyone’s spirits. As mayor, I can talk to prospective businesses about golf and skiing as well as our cultural scene, which adds so much to the overall picture.”

Pittsfield’s Cultural Development Board Chair Andy Kelly said, “This is resounding proof that Pittsfield’s investment in the arts sector has paid off. “The study shows a tremendous increase in the amount of money coming back to local households and to our local government between 2005 and 2010. Over half a million people each year enjoy cultural events in Pittsfield, from 3rd.Thursdays to Broadway quality musicals. The arts definitely mean business in Pittsfield.”

Arts and Cultural Organizations are businesses, too,

The study focuses on non-profit arts and cultural activities only. Individual artists and artisans and for-profit businesses, such as Ferrin Gallery and Museum Facsimiles, are not included. “When you look at the overall impact of the creative economy in Pittsfield, including for-profit companies like Pine Cone Hill, Blue Q, and Interprint, the positive economic impact on Pittsfield is even greater,” Megan Whilden, the City of Pittsfield’s Director of Cultural Development, said.

Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study reveals that the nonprofit arts industry produced $135.2 billion in economic activity during 2010. This spending—$61.1 billion by nonprofit arts and culture organizations plus an additional $74.1 billion by their audiences—supported 4.1 million full-time equivalent jobs and generated $22.3 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.

“This study shines a much-needed light on the vital role the arts play in stimulating and sustaining economic development,” says Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Contrary to popular belief, the arts are a bustling industry that supports a plethora of diverse jobs, generates significant revenues for local businesses and to federal, state and local governments and provides quality of life that positions communities to compete in our 21st century creative economy.”

The Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. The full text of the national statistical report is available at

The City of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development was the local study partner for the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study. The Office of Cultural Development supports, promotes and initiates cultural activities and initiatives in the city of Pittsfield to benefit its residents, the local economy and quality of life. The Office is located inside the city-owned Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, located at 28 Renne Avenue in downtown Pittsfield. For more information, call 413-499-9348.


At a Glance: The Growing Economic Impact of 
the Nonprofit Arts Sector in Pittsfield
FY 2005               FY 2010                       Percentage change
$17,031,313          $25,306,540                 +48.6%
Yearly direct expenditures (organizational+audience)
531                          762                               +43.5%
Full-time equivalent jobs
$9,254,000           $14,275,000                  +54%
Yearly Pittsfield resident household income
$738,000               $1,086,000                   +47%
Yearly local government revenue
$781,000               $1,146,000                    +46.7%
Yearly state government revenue
225,000                 606,239                         +169%
Arts & cultural event attendance


The arts mean business in Pittsfield!
Over 40% increase over Pittsfield’s FY 2005 study findings, reflecting the arts sector’s significantly increased impact on the local economy, especially during the worst reception since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Out of every dollar in direct economic spending through the arts, 56 cents goes into local paychecks.