Texas Cultural Trust 2017 State of the Arts Report

Key Findings

At the Texas Cultural Trust, our mission is to be the leading voice for the arts in education, advocacy, and economic impact in Texas, spotlighting the artistic excellence of our state. We believe the arts reflect our creativity and culture. We know that arts education helps prepare our children to succeed in school and life. And, we are proud that the arts are a significant contributor to our state’s economy.


For this 2017 State of the Arts Report, we have updated key data around the economic impact of the arts. We are pleased to announce that the arts now generate $5.5 billion each year for our state's economy—that's how much it takes to run Dallas and San Antonio, two of our state's biggest cities, for a year—and contribute nearly $343.7 million in state sales tax revenue annually. Impressively, our state's creative sector employs nearly 800,000 innovation workers—that's one in 15 Texans.


In 2015, we sought to better understand the impact that arts education has on Texas students. Our research demonstrated that arts education results in increased passing rates, higher test scores, and improved attendance—impressive results across the board. But an important question remained: who has access to arts education?


This year we were able to conduct statewide research that answers that question, and is the centerpiece of our new advocacy campaign, Art Can. We wanted to better understand the availability of arts courses in our public schools, and provide that information to every Texan in a creative, dynamic, easy-to-use format. The result is a bilingual, multimedia arts advocacy campaign with a data-rich website; radio, television, digital and print advertising; grassroots outreach and social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The campaign is funded by the Houston Endowment and made possible in part through a partnership with the Texas Association of Broadcasters.

But we didn’t stop there. We also sought to understand the attitudes of Texas parents when it comes to arts education, so we conducted a statewide poll to gauge their opinion. The poll results affirm that Texas parents value arts education and want their children to have more access to it. In fact, nine out of 10 Texas parents support increased funding for the arts in their school—and 89 percent believe that art and music electives are as important as athletics. We hope state and local policymakers leverage this data and look for new ways to increase access to arts education—for all Texas children—to improve educational outcomes across the board.


This report goes into more detail about these findings, and provides a blueprint for the significant role the arts can play in Texas’ future. We hope you will join us in supporting the Arts and Culture Industry as an engine for our economy— and as a vital contributor to student success.


A special thank you to the Houston Endowment, a philanthropy endowed by Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones for funding this research

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