Current Policy Agenda

About Our Community


The Tucson Pima Arts Council is the designated non-profit agency that ensures a return on the investment of public dollars in the arts. The creative industry is one of the most important and visible components of what makes Tucson and Pima County great, and has a significant  impact on the region’s economy, educational  achievement, sense of place and quality of life.

The nonprofit  arts groups TPAC works with are part of a regional cultural industry with an annual economic impact of over $100 million.

The arts are an essential part of a healthy and successful community. Public funding for the arts infrastructure is essential to a healthy and successful regional arts industry.

Public dollars leverage significantly greater private dollars for arts programming, arts education and arts services to residents throughout the region.

A designated arts agency is the most effective way to support the broad spectrum of artists and arts organizations that make up southern Arizona’s vibrant arts community.

Arts and culture vitality = economic vitality

The arts provide significant positive impact on the local economy

Arts in Tucson’s Economy, a study of six large Tucson arts organizations completed by the UA Office of Economic Development in 2001 showed a total economic impact of:

$96.8 million in wages and sales

$5.8 million in tax revenues: $1.8 million for the city of Tucson, $1.1 million for Pima County and $2.9 million for the state of Arizona. The UA study showed that every dollar of government spending on the arts generates $1.79 in tax revenues, confirming that investment of public funds yields a healthy return on investment for tax-payers.

3,554 jobs: Arts agencies employed 1,747 people. The combined spending by arts organizations on purchases and operating, plus employee spending created 627 additional jobs. Arts audience spending created 1,180 more jobs.

However, the recent recession has taken its toll on Tucson and Pima County’s arts infrastructure. Most organizations have been forced to make cuts to programs and services as public and private funding shrank.

Arts and culture tourism = economic vitality

The arts attract tourists and increase tourism dollars

Public support of arts and culture plays a critical role in the economic benefit of tourism.

65% percent of US travelers include cultural  events on their trips. Pima County visitors spend an average of $41 per person at arts and culture events. (Residents spend an average of $30).

The UA study found that area visitors comprise 24.4% of the audiences for the arts organizations researched. This nearly one-quarter audience share does not include part-time winter residents, and represents significant arts tourism activity.

Arts education = economic vitality

90% of Arizonans believe arts education is important or very important
(from: Highlights of the 98th Arizona Town Hall: Capitalizing on Arizona’s Arts and Culture) 

Tucson and Pima County’s arts organizations partner with school districts through out the region to provide arts education programs. Studies show this kind of programming fosters better learning in all curriculum areas, higher scores on standardized tests, higher graduation rates and lower absenteeism.

Numerous national  studies show the importance of arts education in preparing the creative workers necessary to attract the types of businesses on which successful 21st century economies depend.

Quality of life and a livable city = economic vitality


Tucson and Pima County’s arts and culture infrastructure is critical to the quality of life in this region and contributes to the attractiveness of the area for other industries. Safeguarding this infrastructure means that we will be well-positioned to attract more investment as the economy recovers.

Tucson and Pima County’s arts are central to creating a sense of community and place qualities attractive to businesses and individuals considering relocation.

Tucson and Pima County’s arts provide a creative outlet and a way to engage in community for residents of all ages. Arts programs help residents to find expression, meaning, and pursue lifelong learning.

Tucson and Pima County’s arts participate in and inform civic dialogue. Arts programs enhance development, improve social cohesion, reduce isolation and create a more active citizenry.



The arts make us richer financially, culturally and creatively. The Tucson Pima Arts Council fosters an environment that preserves our cultural heritage and supports ethnic diversity. TPAC’s Grantee  programs help residents to find expression, meaning, and pursue lifelong learning. TPAC programs engage the community and empower residents to build the skills necessary for an effective dialogue.

The national  average for local public funding for the arts is $6.00 per capita

Pima County funding for TPAC in the current fiscal year is $.25 per county resident

City of Tucson funding is $.77 per city resident, for an average local public funding of $.53 per capita—far below the national  average.