Not only is your art degree worth something, but it might be supporting a fair amount of the economy, or so suggests newly released statistics.According to data from the National Endowment of the Arts, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the arts and cultural production industry adds about $504 billion to the national gross domestic product each year. This amounts to 3.2% of the GDP. By comparison, mining, oil and gas make up only 2% of the GDP.
The study found that the industries that contributed the most to economic growth within arts and cultural production were advertising services, publishing and the performing arts, motion picture and video production, and cable TV production and distribution.
Neil Pagano, associate dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Columbia, says that the results paint an important picture of America and future job outlook. He explained that, though many traditional industries are starting to dry up, “opportunities in the digital environment [are] on the rise.”
Although many people, when they picture an art degree, think of the artist with their painting studio, the arts are a wide-ranging field that cover everything from video game design, to crafting ad campaigns for national brands. Far from the stereotype of the starving artist, many art students go on to become important industry players with healthy salaries backing their creative contributions to the companies they work for.
Mark Kelly, VP of Student Affairs at Columbia, has said in response to the research that “The work of creative workers is going to be more and more important in the future of the overall U.S. economy.”