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Published on Monday, January 27, 2020

Department of Arts & Culture Shares Latest Creative Economy Data

Data shows increase in both creative economy employment and economic impact

CONTACT: Carol Schliesinger, 210-207-6980


SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 27, 2020) – The City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture released today the latest San Antonio Creative Industry Economic Impact Assessment Study, which shows a 21.4 percent increase in the economic impact of the creative economy from the study’s last release in 2017. The study’s data reveals a total economic impact of $4.8 billion.


The study, conducted on a biennial basis by Steve Nivin, Ph.D., Chief Economist at the Saber Institute, compares creative economy data between 2016 and 2018. The study’s findings included that employment in the creative industry increased by 7.23 percent within that time period, with total employment measured at 26,684 positions generating $1.3 billion in income.


“One of the most significant benefits of having a vibrant arts economy is it not only leads to more growth in the arts community, but that it also generates growth across the general economy and all industries,” said Dr. Steve Nivin, author of the study. “In fact, the creative economy in San Antonio led the general economy’s growth by double.”


Cities with vibrant arts and culture communities are recognized for being a place where people want to live, work and visit. The creative industry often impacts overall economic development, paints a broad stroke on the cultural identity of a city and serves as key support for all industries in San Antonio – with artists employed by industries including finance, healthcare, government, hospitality and more.


Leading initiatives to develop the creative economy is the Department of Arts & Culture’s Cul-Tú-Art Plan, launched in 2017 with the release of the 2017 San Antonio Creative Industry Economic Impact Assessment Study. This coordinated planning document that identifies strategies for key focus areas in the creative economy including film, art funding public art, cultural districts, music and performing arts. Some of the accomplishments achieved by the department in fiscal year 2019 under the guidance of the Cul-Tú-Art Plan can be viewed at


“It’s thrilling to see such significant growth in the creative industry in the past two years,” said City of San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “It is a true testament of what is possible when we are committed to the arts.”


The study breaks out the economic impact of each creative sector including:

  • Printing, broadcasting and related activities - $1,438,107,969
  • Design and advertising - $1,094,596,645
  • Performing arts - $924,375,489
  • Museums and collections – $248,755,807
  • Independent artists, writers and performers – $118,539,311
  • Visual arts, photography, and culinary arts – $114,746,809
  • Schools - $102,364,358


To learn more about the San Antonio Creative Industry Economic Impact Assessment Study, visit and view the Department of Arts & Culture’s Creative Economy video at

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