Creative Economy Research

Documentation and information-sharing are major objectives of NEFA's research. If you have questions about our research, contact or 617.951.0010 x530.


NE Creative Jobs Matter cover.jpg

Jobs in New England's Creative Economy and Why They Matter - June 2017

Creative workers are employed in nearly every sector that powers New England, from education, to technology and science, to major global brands. They help shape our industries and culture, defining who we are and where we want to live. The report shows: New England’s creative economy employs nearly 310,000 people who earn a total of $17 billion per year; New England has a 20 percent higher prevalence of artists in its employment base compared to the U.S.; employment trend data since 2000; the local landscape of creative enterprises; and a survey of artists and creative workers reflecting the realities of work life.

Learning from New England Creative Economy Initiatives - June 2016

A summary of learnings from CCX 2015 that outlines the structure and goals of the CCX concept, shares survey data from participants, as well as an analysis by Chris Dwyer of RMC Research of the needs and suggestions made by leaders in arts-based community development work in New England. Our hope is that input we have gathered from creative economy leaders can help NEFA and other service providers advance the role that the creative sector plays in building healthy New England communities.

New England's Creative Economy: Nonprofit Sector Impact - September 2011

This study uses methodology from prior NEFA reports for the next installment in the series focusing on the economic impact of New England’s arts and cultural nonprofits. It provides aggregate data on the number, spending, and employment of New England’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations; data on their overall economic impact, and individual stories that illustrate that economic impact. Comparisons are drawn to prior years and other economic sectors wherever possible in an effort to understand the profile of the New England creative economy’s nonprofit subset and give context to sharing the report data with a broader audience.

New England’s Creative Economy: The Nonprofit Sector – December 2009

These data demonstrate the size and financial statistics of cultural nonprofits in New England from fiscal year 2007 (before the changes of the economic downturn of the latter part of 2008), organized by New England state, organizational discipline, and nonprofit type. 

The Creative Economy: A New Definition - November 2007

This report includes a definition of cultural enterprise and cultural worker categories from widely available U.S. federal data sources; protocol for measuring these categories; data on cultural enterprise employment in each state of New England and data and demographics on cultural workers in each state of New England.  

Highlights from The Creative Economy: A New Definition

Creative Economy Research in New England: A Reexamination - March 2006

This white paper examines the definition of the creative economy developed in the Creative Economy Initiative report: "The Role of Arts and Culture in New England's Economic Competitiveness," released in 2000 by NEFA, Mt. Auburn Associates and The New England Council, as well as subsequent approaches advanced in the U.S. and abroad.

New England's Creative Economy: The State of the Public Cultural Sector - 2005 Update

This study examines the financial status of New England's nonprofit cultural organizations – an important component of the region’s creative economy -- between 2000 and 2002. New methodology developed by NEFA for this report enables us to better define the types of organizations that are included in the nonprofit cultural sector, and provide a more accurate and consistent look at their economic impact. Additionally, an exciting new partnership with the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute has enabled us for the first time to examine New England’s nonprofit cultural sector within a larger regional and national context.

For research listed below, contact or 617.951.0010 x530.

  • New England's Creative Economy: Employment Update, July 2004
  • New England's Creative Economy: The Non-Profit Sector - 2002 
  • New England's Creative Economy: The Non-Profit Sector - 2000
  • The Creative Economy Initiative: A Blueprint for Investment in New England's Creative Economy
  • The Creative Economy Initiative: The Role of the Arts and Culture in New England's Economic Competitiveness - 2000
  • Arts, Cultural, and Humanities Organizations in the New England Economy, 1996 

NEFA Programs & learnings

RE-Tool: Racial Equity in the Panel Process - October 2018
NEFA was among a cohort of 12 grant makers from the U.S. and Canada who came together with the purpose of examining and identifying ways to strengthen equity in grant decision making practices. Request a text version. 
Art in the Service of Understanding: Convening Learnings cover

Art in the Service of Understanding Convening Summary - November 2017
Read a summary  from Art in the Service of Understanding, a convening inspired by five projects that received grants from NEFA's National Theater Project and National Dance Project; participants included artists, active military personnel, veterans, arts presenters, health care practitioners and funders. 

NEFA NDP Moving Dance Forward
Moving Dance Forward: NEFA'S National Dance Project at 20 & Critical Field Trends - October 2016
A comprehensive evaluation of the National Dance Project, incorporating new research about current needs of the dance field on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the program. 
Lessons from the National Theater Project Pilot
July 2016 publication on the pilot phase of NEFA's National Theater Pilot

Native New England Now: Celebrating Native Arts at NEFA

October 2013 publication accompanying an exhibit of NEFA-supported Native American artists


Center Stage: Artists from Abroad in American Communities

A Report on Center Stage 2012


Center Stage: Artists from Abroad in American Communities

Pilot round activity summary for June-December 2012 tours.

GPS for the Arts: Recommitting America to International Cultural Exchange

Released in January 2009, this is a report to the Obama Administration from the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations.

Documenting the Arts: A Practical Handbook for Cultural Organizations

Released in May 2005, this handbook provides cultural organizations with practical guidance on developing written and audiovisual documentation of their work or improving the quality of existing efforts. It is intended to help small and medium-sized organizations that often struggle to create a lasting record of their accomplishments or to find the space to examine and reflect upon their accustomed ways of doing business.
Hard copies of Documenting the Arts are available for purchase; contact NEFA’s communications department if you are interested.