WNC Creative Economy
Impact of the Arts in WNC
The Western North Carolina snapshot includes the 23 member counties of WNC Arts. Data from 40 core arts industries was gathered using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to estimate industry activity, and the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System was used to identify 41 core arts occupations. Please note: The Creative Economy was majorly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in March 2020.
Creative Industry Earnings in Western North Carolina grew 21% from 2015-2020, but declined 6% from 2020-2021. Top earning Industries include independent Artists, Writers, & Performers; Graphic Design Services; Jewelry Stores; Arts Dealers; and Jewelry, Watch, Precious Stone, and Precious Metal Merchant Wholesalers.
Creative Industry Sales reached $782,906,368 in 2021 ($392,687,716 in-region and $390,218,652 exported). Total sales industries include Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers; Jewelry Stores; Motion Picture and Video Production; Jewelry Stores; Arts Dealers; and Jewelry, Watch, Precious Stone, and Precious Metal Merchant Wholesalers; and Musical Instrument Manufacturing.
Creative Jobs also grew 17% from 2015-2020 to a total of 18,645, but declined 9% from 2020-2021 to 15,994. Top creative jobs include Photographers, Musicians and Singers, Writers and Authors, Graphic Designer, and Arts Dealers.
Creative jobs in WNC were held by 82% white workers, and 18% BIPOC workers in 2021. Male workers held 51% of these jobs, while females workers made up the other 49%. The majority of creative jobs were held by workers ages 25-34 and 35-44.