Arts Alert: New Creative Minnesota Study of Minnesota Fringe Reveals Large Impact of the Arts on Local Economy

SAINT PAUL, MN: Creative Minnesota, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and Minnesota Fringe released a new study today indicating the large impact the arts have a on the city and region’s economy.

“The arts are an integral part of Minnesota’s culture and economy. Organizations like the Minnesota Fringe Festival not only change lives when they connect writers, actors, and audiences through stories, but they also have a demonstrable economic impact. Supporting local artists and art organizations is how we share our stories and build community across difference.” – Peggy Flanagan, Lieutenant Governor

“Minnesota Fringe provides an artistic platform for local and touring artists to take bold risks, develop new ideas, and hoist themselves to the next rung of their artistic ladder. The flagship Festival is one of the largest in the Midwest, paying out more than $2 Million directly to artists over the last decade, and recently named Minneapolis City Pages Best Festival for 2018. We believe this beloved community asset that includes artists, volunteers, and patrons, has important cultural and economic impact in our state.” – Dawn Bentley, Executive Director, Minnesota Fringe

As the most comprehensive report ever done of the state’s creative sector, Creative Minnesota fills in the gaps of available information about Minnesota’s cultural field and seeks to improve our understanding of its importance to our quality of life and economy. Creative Minnesota quantifies the impact and needs of Minnesota’s artists, creative workers, nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences, and looks at the availability of arts education in our schools.

All Creative Minnesota research is available for free at

Minnesota Fringe HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Produces over $1.9 Million in economic impact
    • Almost $1.3 Million* in audience spending
    • $660,633 in organizations spending
  • Attracts more than 46,000 attendees
  • Drives almost $214,000 in state and local government revenues
  • Generates 47 full-time-equivalent jobs to support economic impact

Based on 2017 data.

“The Fringe Festival is so inherently Minneapolis – community minded, inspirational, and even a little strange at times. I’m a big fan, and I’m thrilled that Fringe Festival will once again put a bright spotlight on our arts scene.” – City of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

*The economic impact of the Minnesota Fringe’s audiences in this region totaled $1,271,300. This spending at local businesses is above and separate from the cost of the ticket to the event, and includes spending in restaurants, bars, retailers, gas stations, and other local businesses by attendees on the way to and on the way home from an event. The average spent by an attendee is $27.58 and is money that would not have been spent in the community unless the event had occurred. Nonlocals spend more, bringing dollars to the community that would otherwise not be there.


  • Creative Minnesota 2019 found that there are over 41,552 artists and creative workers in Hennepin County. Creative workers are defined as people who make their living wholly, or in part, by working for for-profits, non-profits, or self-employed, in 40 creative occupations.
  • These occupations include, for example:

architects, choir directors, curators, librarians, art directors, craft artists, fine artists including painters, sculptors and illustrators, multimedia artists and animators, commercial and industrial designers, fashion, graphic and interior designers, set and exhibition designers, actors, producers and directors, dancers, choreographers, music directors and composers, musicians and singers, editors, writers and authors, sound engineering technicians, photographers, camera operators

  • The most common creative worker jobs in the county are Photographers, Graphic Designers, Writers and Authors, and Musicians and Singers.
  • The average hourly wage for creative workers in Hennepin County is $24.51.
  • The economic impact of spending by full and part-time artists and creative workers in Hennepin County is $283,597,254, for a per capita economic impact of $230.10.
  • The direct spending of artists and creative workers in Hennepin County generates $36,964,200 in state and local government revenues.



  • Statewide, the Creative Minnesota study found that the combined economic impact of nonprofit arts organizations, their audiences and artists and creative workers is over $2.1 billion annually. This includes $902 million spent by nonprofit arts organizations, $594 million spent by audiences, and the direct spending of artists in their communities, on things such as art supplies and studio rental, of $671 million. 
  • Just looking at the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations, Minnesota has double the arts economy of Wisconsin even though we have nearly the same population, eleven times the arts economy of North Dakota and twelve times the arts economy of South Dakota.
  • Statewide, state and local government revenue from the arts sector exceeded $158 million, including income and sales taxes.


  • Creative Minnesota 2019 found that there are over 108,755 artists and creative workers in Minnesota whose spending in the state totals $671 million annually.
  • 24 percent of self-identified artists in Minnesota are employed full-time as artists, 42 percent are employed part-time, and the rest, 34 percent, are retired, hobbyists or students.


  • 1903 nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Minnesota served 23 million attendees at arts and cultural events in 2016.
  • These organizations serve 5.3 million K-12 students each year. There are approximately 894,496 K-12 students in Minnesota, so on average every student is participating almost

6 times a year in arts and culture activities provided by these nonprofits.

  • The economic impact of just the participating organizations and their audiences totaled $1.5 billion, an increase of $100 million since our previous study in 2017.


Minnesotans strongly believe the arts and culture are important to their quality of life, and Minnesotans attend and participate in the arts more than other Americans:

  • 74% of Minnesotans, compared to 54% of all Americans, attend arts and culture events
  • 55% of Minnesotans, compared to 49% of all Americans, are personally involved in creative activity in their everyday life
  • 91% of Minnesotans believe that people who create art are contributing something important to their communities
  • 90% of Minnesotans believe that arts & cultural activities help make Minnesota an attractive place to live and work
  • 82% of Minnesotans believe it’s important to have the opportunity to express themselves creatively or to experience the creativity of others every day


Creative Minnesota is a long-term collaborative initiative of statewide arts and culture supporting organizations in partnership with Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA). Creative Minnesota’s first round of studies, released in February 2015, looked at the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the state’s 11 arts regions and at the state as a whole. The second round in 2015 looked at the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations in 17 Minnesota cities and counties. The 2017 study expanded its scope to look at the impact and needs of Minnesota’s artists and creative workers. The 2019 study added the Arts Education Data Project to look at the availability of the arts in Minnesota schools. All Creative Minnesota research is available for free at CREATIVEMN.ORG.

The Creative Minnesota team includes Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota, Target, Bush Foundation, Mardag Foundation, and Jerome Foundation, with in-kind support from the Minnesota Historical Society and others.

Major Sponsoring Organizations:

  • Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA) is a statewide arts advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure opportunity for all people to have access to and involvement in the arts. MCA organizes the arts community and lobbies the Minnesota State Legislature and Congress on issues pertaining to the nonprofit arts and conducts original research. MCA works with over 40,000 arts advocates in Minnesota. 651-251-0868, @MNCitizen
  • The McKnight Foundation:
  • Target:
  • Bush Foundation:
  • Mardag Foundation:
  • Jerome Foundation:
  • The Minnesota State Arts Board:
  • Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota:
  • Minnesota Historical Society:
  • Ideas that Kick:
  • Americans for the Arts:
  • CURA Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota:
  • Minnesota Compass:
  • Perpich Center for Arts Education
  • Minnesota Fringe