Georgia Arts Day Celebrates the Release of AEP 6 Economic Impact Study, including Macon-Bibb County and Downtown Macon

Tuesday, February 6th, 2024

The newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) is an economic and social impact study of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. Building on its 30-year legacy as the largest and most inclusive study of its kind, AEP6 provides detailed findings on 373 regions from across all 50 states and Puerto Rico—ranging in population from 4,000 to 4 million—and representing rural, suburban, and large urban communities.

In partnership with Americans for the Arts, Macon Arts Alliance coordinated the study of Macon-Bibb County, including a micro-study of Downtown Macon, with generous funding from Knight Foundation.

Highlights of the study include:


  • Macon-Bibb County had an organizational participation rate of 49.3% - higher than the national average (43.9%) – 33 of 67 eligible organizations participated in the study

  • Data is from those who participated, so impact is higher than reported – it could be double as less than 50% of organizations responded to the survey

AFTA used a different methodology in 2022 from 2015, so we should not compare overall impact to that found in AEP 5. That said, we can note that from 2015 to 2022 

  • Organizational spending decreased while audience spending increased

  • Jobs in the non-profit arts sector decreased, a national trend and lasting effect of Covid 

Total expenditures of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations in Macon-Bibb County and their audiences (FY2022) was $106,499,635.

  • 1.3 million people attended arts and culture events in Macon-Bibb County in 2022

  • 72% of attendees were local

  • 28% were nonlocal 

AEP 6 also measured social impact

  • 88.5% said the venue/event they attended is a pillar in their community

  • 89.4% said they would feel a sense of loss if the venue/event went away

  • 92.9% said the venue/event inspires a sense of pride in their neighborhood or community

  • 89.4% said their attendance is in part to ensure the venue/event continues

Macon-Bibb County also measured the economic impact of Downtown Macon compared to Macon-Bibb County as a whole.

  • Of the 1.3 million attendees, 1.2 million (92%) attended events Downtown

  • Of the $62 million in audience expenditures, 57 million (92%) was spent Downtown

  • Of the $106.5 million in total expenditures, $71.8 million (67.4%) was spent Downtown

  • Of the 2,009 jobs in this sector, 1,256 (62.5%) are located Downtown

“I want to thank Knight Foundation for funding this important study” said Macon Arts Alliance Executive Director Julie Wilkerson. “While the nonprofit arts and culture sector is still recovering from pandemic related losses, this study tells me that we have made tremendous progress, especially when it comes to audience attendance and spending. We appreciate arts patrons and funders for keeping our sector relevant and helping us continue to recover and grow”.

“Arts and culture enrich our lives, our communities, and our nation,” said Knight Foundation’s Vice President for Arts Victoria Rogers. “In this pivotal moment in our history, there is a growing recognition that the arts reveal new ideas, unlock opportunities, and help us confront the many challenges before us.” 

Macon-Bibb County and Downtown Macon AEP 6 reports can be found here

The State of Georgia report and other local and regional findings can be found here