St. Louis Arts and Culture Make For Robust Economic Development Opportunities in the Region

by Gary Broome | Mar 20, 2015

Many times, St. Louis arts and culture can be so vibrant that it takes many newcomers by surprise. The area is home to the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Louis Science Center, the City Museum, the Festival of Nations, the St. Louis Scottish Games, Fair St. Louis and the 1,300+ acre Forest Park, a park in the heart of St. Louis that is larger than Central Park in New York City and the home to the world-class St. Louis Zoo, the outdoor Muny Theatre and was made famous by the 1904 World’s Fair.

And the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC) is at the forefront of telling the stories of what is happening and helping transform St. Louis into the perfect place for arts and culture that drive regional economic development. RAC is a leading, strengthening and giving voice to a creative community where every citizen can be proud to live, work and play in a world-class region.

Since its inception in 1985, RAC has awarded more than 6,300 grants totaling over $84 million to support nonprofit arts, individual artists, cultural organizations, consortiums and programs. This funding goes to support economic development spanning a wide range of programs and entertainment, from workshops to classes, theater performances to gallery openings and much more.

St. Louis-specific arts and culture are a big part of what makes our region unique and vibrant. We also recognize the economic value that the creative sector brings to the region. The Arts and Economic Prosperity IV study with Americans for the Arts, revealed just how economically vital arts and culture are the region, including: 

    • The arts are a $582.3 million industry that has grown 4 percent since 2007
    • The arts comprise more than 10,000 full-time equivalent jobs that grew 14 percent since 2007
    • 11.3 million visits to the arts – more than the Cardinals, Blues and Rams audiences combined

RAC also created the Community and Public Arts Department. Here, they offer the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute and other opportunities to collaboratively develop work that continues to make an impact in St. Louis. RAC provides incredible funding and support programs for individual artists through the Artists Count initiative. This program’s Artist Fellowships, Artists Support Grants, workshops and other support services are designed to help artists advance their careers and contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of our community.

And RAC is making it easier than ever to connect to arts and culture. Because arts and culture enriches lives, RAC created an app that connects all St. Louisans to the region’s incredible events any time, anywhere.

For more information about the app, visit, or search ‘STL Arts’ in your device’s app store.

RAC, and many other organizations and individuals, are building on the solid foundation of art and culture in the St. Louis region.