Arts & Culture

It’s Here

The arts industry in Roanoke is a powerhouse sector and an engine of economic and cultural growth. In Roanoke, locals and tourists alike can enjoy professional cultural assets often only found in cities twice or three times its size. Take in a symphony or opera concert, enjoy two ballet companies, a thriving professional theatre and children’s theatre, stroll through an iconic art museum, or study at a nationally recognized writing program all without leaving the Roanoke Valley.

“Unique to this place, our arts help us connect in real ways across the community. Then, when we feel we belong to the place, we apply our creativity to make it even better.”
– Douglas Jackson, City of Roanoke Arts & Culture Coordinator

Culture & Business

The cultural workers that make up this sector range from qualified administrators, operations experts, and skilled performers, writers, and visual artists. These professionals consistently produce a return on investment for their community. By every metric, the economic impact of Roanoke outshines similar cities thanks to our 300 businesses involved in the creation or distribution of the arts. That’s 4% of all businesses.

Roanoke creates place, meaning, opportunity, jobs, and tourism. 

  • Symphony orchestra
  • Opera Company
  • 2 ballet companies
  • 2 theatre companies
  • 7 museums
  • Art galleries
  • Concert venues

“The arts provide both cultural and economic benefits.”
– Robert Lynch, CEO of Americans for the Arts

By the Numbers

  • The arts and culture sector represents 2.9% of Virginia’s GDP and 109,962 jobs.
  • In Roanoke, the total impact is $64.2 million (compared to $19.5 million in similar regions).
  • In Roanoke, 1,774 full-time jobs (512 in similar regions)
  • In Roanoke, $2.7 million in local government revenue ($905,500 in similar regions)
  • Nonresident tourists spend an average of 57.1% more per person than local attendees ($43.02 vs. $27.39) for cultural events

“A vibrant arts community is a key aspect of having a great place to work, play, and live.”
-Marc Nelson, City of Roanoke Economic Development Director

Find Your Spark

You’re creative even if you aren’t applying your creativity to a work of art. When you engage with the arts as an audience member, you are co-creating with the professionals on the stage, in the gallery, or on the page. Their work encourages you to imagine new perspectives which you can apply to your own relationships and work, fueling innovation for the entire community.

There’s options for kids, families, and friends.

We know the arts spark innovation. We leverage the powerful arts industry to drive economic and cultural growth in the Roanoke Valley.

“One of Roanoke’s greatest assets is a robust, collaborative, and innovative arts community.”
– David Wine, Chair of Roanoke Cultural Endowment

Arts Connect Roanoke

The arts are a critical component of creating a sense of place and shared identity. A cohesive identity smooths the path for collaboration and collaboration speeds up growth. A vibrant, creative culture is also attractive to people wanting to travel to (and spend their dollars in) places offering interesting, cultural experiences.  Places with a strong quality of life and quality of place are where businesses want to invest, and where people want to live.

“Make it all happen from where ya standing … It’s all here telling our stories taking the lead.”
– Bryan Hancock, Excerpt from “It’s Here”


Buzz4Good + Arts Connect

A 6-part BUZZ Series: ARTS CONNECT Roanoke project, facilitated by the Roanoke Cultural Endowment, in partnership with the City of Roanoke, utilized American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funds as an investment to develop collective storytelling tools around collaborative arts and cultural events, strategies, and challenges.