Official New Hampshire website
NHSCA logo 50th anniversary tagline


 nh arts home
 program services
 arts & artists
nh folklife
trans div
 news & calendar
   media room
   nh arts calendars
trans div
 about us
 site map



News & Calendar  

January 2019
See How it Grows:  A Report on New Hampshire’s Creative Economy

creative economy image 1

The creative economy is one sector within a complex ecosystem that comprises an entire economic profile.  In a healthy economy, all of these sectors fit together – like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle – to create an environment that’s robust and whole. 

Our state invests in the creative economy through the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.  The Arts Council, in turn, invests these funds in our arts industries and artists.  This commitment of public funds establishes the arts as a recognized priority in our state’s overall economic profile.  It institutes a cycle of support that ensures we continue New Hampshire’s long tradition of a vibrant arts economy.

While the term “creative economy” is fairly new, the arts in its many forms have been a vital component of economic development for centuries and continue to contribute to New Hampshire’s economy in important ways.  Built on a strong creative business sector and nourished through community commitment,

our creative economy enhances the quality and breadth of our educational opportunities,
attracts businesses that hire skilled workers, and draws hundreds of thousands of
visitors to our state for uniquely New Hampshire experiences.

Its activities are a product of the vision and effort of individuals, organizations, businesses, libraries, industries, and educational and public institutions– all working in tandem to create the communities we call home.  This is how the creative economy supports and enriches quality of life for all of us.

Regional and national findings confirm the power of New Hampshire’s creative economy.  In 2018, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce) released its 2015 Arts and Culture Production Satellite Account.  The impact is astonishing: 

arts and cultural industries contribute $2.3 billion to New Hampshire’s economy
3.1% of our state’s GDP.

The 2017 New England Foundation for the Arts report, The Jobs in New England’s Creative Economy and Why They Matter, identified 1,980 creative sector businesses in New Hampshire, employing more than 21,000 workers in creative and non-creative positions.  Nearly 12,000 people work in creative occupations across all sectors and industries, including education, manufacturing, retail, transportation and government.  This expands our understanding of what creative workers do and where they work.  In truth, they are everywhere.  Of course, we cannot forget our artists, a small army of nearly 6,000 creative entrepreneurs who live and work in New Hampshire.  Together,

payroll-employed and self-employed creative sector workers represent nearly
4% of New Hampshire’s total workforce;
creative workers employed in industries outside of the creative sector add to this total.

A 2014 report jointly released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts determined

New Hampshire’s creative workforce has significant spending power,
receiving $1.4 billion in annual compensation.

While there is still much work to do to uniformly define and measure the creative sector, these reports and other data demonstrate the sector’s undeniable impact.  The creative economy is here to stay, and its potential is growing.  As New Hampshire becomes home to nascent creative fields, including makerspaces and video game design and development, these too will further our economic growth.

As part of its ongoing work to foster and support a thriving arts ecosystem in New Hampshire, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts seeks to increase New Hampshire’s investment in our state’s creative economy. 

The State currently invests 30 cents per capita in the arts;
this ranks us 44th in the nation for investment in our creative economy. 

Now, the Arts Council is asking the State to increase its contribution to $1.00 per capita.

The proposed budget expands public investment in cultural opportunities across New Hampshire:  events that attract visitors and bring revenue into local communities . . . arts initiatives that build a healthy workforce through physical and mental wellness and substance misuse recovery . . . integrated arts education to prepare our students to meet the demands for creativity and innovation in a high-tech global marketplace.  

If approved, this new budget provides a vast opportunity for continuing growth through the creative economy.  It is a critical part of a comprehensive effort to secure New Hampshire’s economic well-being and make our state an even better place to live, work and visit . . . a place we’re proud to call home

We invite you to join our email list and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on our creative economy activities.


Photos (top to bottom):

  • Staff, performers and supporters gather at the New London Barn Playhouse
  • The start of a new day at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair in Newbury
  • Exploring art and creative making at the Claremont MakerSpace
  • A family adventure at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester
creative economy image 2
creative economy image 3
creative economy image 4

Last updated: January 10, 2019


nh | privacy policy | accessibility policy