The Arts Equals Big Business: Ohio Creative Economy Report Release

Ohio Creative Industries account for more than $41 billion in economic activity!
The Ohio Citizens for the Arts is pleased to present the findings of a commissioned study (PDF) developed in conjunction with the Center for Regional Development and Bowling Green State University that explores the true power and impact of Ohio’s creative industries. The results prove that Ohio’s creative industries are much more than regional amenities. In short, they are powerful economic engines. The arts in Ohio have experienced significant growth in the past few years and now account for more than $41 billion in economic activity while supporting nearly 290,000 jobs annually. Additionally, and every one of the of creative categories featured in the report has experienced an increase in output since 2015.

The report, while focused in particular on Ohio’s six metropolitan areas (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Youngstown), also suggests that the economic impact of creative industries was not limited to just urban areas. While seventy percent of the creative industries’ impact was located in those six metropolitan areas, additional Ohio municipalities make up nearly thirty percent of the creative economy with more than $12 billion in annual activity. This defies popular perception that creative activity is primarily an urban phenomenon.

The creative economy generates $6.1 billion in the Cincinnati MSA (metropolitan statistical area) (PDF). It supports 38,659 jobs and supplies more than $2 billion in wages and proprietor income. Advertising and public relations lead the creative industries. The sector is responsible for $996 million dollars and supports 4,534 jobs in the Cincinnati MSA.

“This study shows conclusively that the arts impact Ohio’s economy in a big way, in both the rural areas and metropolitan areas,” said Ohio Citizens for the Arts Executive Director Bill Behrendt. “We see that the arts are a powerful economic driver that provides jobs, develops the workforce, attracts talent, and contributes to the health of the state by generating revenues that support Ohio’s infrastructure.”

To grow and celebrate our creative industries is to grow and celebrate our local economies individually and our state economy as a whole. The wealth of internationally recognized art museums and performance venues, an unending string of critically acclaimed bands and music festivals, the plethora of designers, photographers, and filmmakers creating cutting-edge promotional work for national brands are just some of the ways the creative industries elevate the perception of Ohio as a hub of creativity, attracting both employees and firms.

The report also shows that as technology and outsourcing continues to displace manufacturing workers, the technology, service, and creative sectors have emerged as drivers of regional economies. The educated, highly-skilled workforce propelling these emerging sectors has become an increasingly important factor in regional economic development strategies. This report confirms that creativity, innovation and knowledge creation are now central to economic prosperity.

To download the full report or a quick stats summary, visit

About Ohio Citizens for the Arts

Ohio Citizens for the Arts is a member-driven, not-for-profit, grass roots arts advocacy organization working to benefit the citizens of Ohio with a mission to increase funding and public support for the arts through advocacy, education, and engagement.

About ArtWorks

Since 1996, ArtWorks’ has been transforming people and places through investments in creativity. The organization is a workforce development and job-training program where art is the vehicle that trains and employs local youth and professional talent to create art and community impact. ArtWorks has hired over 3,300 youth and 2,900 professional artists who have completed over 12,000 public and private art projects.