Texas Cultural Trust Report Quantifies Economic, Educational, and Health Benefits of the Arts

by Jessica Fuentes April 16, 2023

The Texas Cultural Trust (TXCT) recently released its 2023 State of the Arts Report (SOTAR), detailing the cultural, economic, and educational impact the arts have had across the state. The 48-page report quantifies the value of the arts, measures arts access in Texas schools and communities, and highlights how the arts have been increasingly utilized in relation to health, well-being, and developing social and emotional learning

In a press release, Heidi Marquez Smith, TXCT Chief Executive Officer, remarked, “The 2023 State of the Arts Report underscores our conviction that art has power. More specifically, the arts and culture industry has the power to boost the Texas economy, enhance our children’s education, unite our communities and improve our health and well-being. Our goal is to showcase how funding is critical to the success of our state by making the arts accessible.” 

The data for this research came from a variety of places. The economic impact research was conducted by Travis James of TXP, Inc, an Austin-based economic analysis and public policy consulting firm. This research was backed by data sets from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Economic Development and Tourism Division of the Office of the Governor, and D.K. Shifflet & Associates, a consumer travel research firm based in Virginia. Arts education research was completed by MINDPOP researchers Dr. Brent Hasty and Dr. Cinda Christian and used Texas Education Agency student data. The health and well-being research was conducted by Thornton Kulha, the Operations Manager for the Center for Performing Arts Medicine at Houston Methodist and an instructor for the Arts in Health graduate certificate program at the University of Houston. Ms. Kulha also conducted a review of prominent statewide arts in health programs.

A designed graphic with text that reads, "Art can fuel the economy."

A graphic from the Texas Cultural Trust 2023 State of the Arts Report

SOTAR found that across Texas, nearly 845,000 people are employed in creative fields, which translates to 1 in 15 jobs. Additionally, the arts and culture industry has grown over 30% in the past ten years. This growth has generated $6 billion for the Texas economy, and nearly $380 million in state sales tax revenue. The report also found that 25% of visitors to Texas participate in cultural tourism, and that cultural tourists often stay longer, bring more people in a single group, and spend more money than non-cultural tourists.

A designed graphic with text that reads, "Art can improve education."

A graphic from the Texas Cultural Trust 2023 State of the Arts Report

Regarding education, SOTAR revealed that Texas high school students who are enrolled in more arts courses generally have better attendance, higher rates of passing standardized tests, and are more likely to attend college as compared to students who only take the minimum arts requirements. Unfortunately, art education access is not equitable, especially for those in rural and high-poverty areas. Specifically, rural schools offer 70% fewer arts courses, and students in high-poverty schools have less access to the arts than those in low-poverty schools. Though access is disproportionate, the benefits of arts education remain high for all students. Overall, students who are economically disadvantaged are more likely to pass standardized tests, across all subject areas, when they have increased access to and engagement with the arts.

A designed graphic with text that reads, "Art can improve health."

A graphic from the Texas Cultural Trust 2023 State of the Arts Report

SOTAR also provides information related to health, indicating that listening to a prescribed playlist of music can improve blood flow through damaged areas of a stroke patient’s brain by 18%. Similarly, music therapy can decrease post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms by 30%. The study also found that attending one cultural event per month can reduce the risk of developing depression by 48%. 

Leslie Ward, TXCT Board Chair remarked, “Public support for our creative sector ensures all Texans have access to the arts. The steady increase and interest in cultural events throughout the state makes clear how much Texans value the arts.”

Read the full report and learn more about the research at the TXCT website.

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