The Power of the Arts

Significant new stats prove how much Dallas-Fort Worth needs the arts

Significant new stats prove how much Dallas-Fort Worth needs the arts

Booker T. Washington High School, Flyinghorse
Students like those at Booker T. Washington have a leg up thanks to their arts education. Photo by Bo Joplin

Expanding on the State of the Arts report from earlier this year, the Texas Cultural Trust has released new information that shows the arts and culture industries in Dallas-Fort Worth have an even greater economic and educational impact on our region — and state.

By adding data from Fort Worth and Arlington to the equation, the trust found that the entire Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area generated more than $1.5 billion in taxable arts and culture sales in 2013, compared to the $1.18 billion from Dallas-Plano-Irving. Our region leads the state in economic impact of the arts.

 Research by the Texas Cultural Trust suggests that students who are exposed to more arts courses perform better on state assessment tests.

Those numbers were compiled by taking into account the more than 39,000 arts and culture businesses in the area that employ almost 239,000 people. And it turns out those people do pretty well for themselves: On average, they make just over $75,000 a year, more than $20,000 above the average for those earning non-creative wages. 

“The Dallas Fort Worth region is rich in cultural opportunities that translate into important economic contributions,” said Charles Matthews, Dallas resident and TCT Chair, in a release. “The arts create jobs, economic opportunity and tax revenue for our communities, and they also help prepare our students to succeed in life and in future careers.”

Speaking of those students, research by the Texas Cultural Trust suggests that those who are exposed to more arts courses perform better on state assessment tests than those who aren’t.

Middle school students in Region 10, which encompasses Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Rockwall, and a part of Van Zandt counties, passed the STAAR tests at higher rates — as much as 20.3 percent — when they were exposed to more arts. That held true for history, science, reading and math assessments.

High school students enrolled in more arts courses saw similar results on the TAKS tests. For example, in math, they passed at a 10.1 percent higher rate.

“It’s clear the arts are contributing to student success and we should actively work to encourage more arts education for all of our students,” said TCT executive director Jennifer Ransom Rice in a release. “DFW has a vibrant arts community, and it is our hope that all student can benefit from the creativity, original thinking and problem-solving skills that the arts help inspire.”

Established in 1995, the Texas Cultural Trust promotes and highlights the importance of the arts in educating our children and sustaining our vibrant Texas economy. In addition to the biennial Texas Medal of Arts Awards, other programs include Texas Women for the Arts, Founders for the Arts, Adventures in the ARTS, Young Masters scholarship program, Art of Economic Development and an Art & Digital Literacy Curriculum.

The full report is available at