Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, recently announced the findings from Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™, the fourth economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences. The largest and most comprehensive of its kind ever conducted, it shows that the arts industry continued to serve as an economic engine, pumping billions of dollars into the nation's economy, despite the economic headwinds the country faced in 2010 when the study was conducted.
Impact of Great Recession
Like most industries, the Great Recession left a measurable financial impact on the arts—erasing the gains made during the pre-recession years. But even in the face of an extremely challenging fiscal environment, 2010 expenditures by arts organizations were just three percent behind their 2005 levels ($61.1 billion vs. $63.1 billion)1.The recession, as expected, also had an impact on consumer spending. Inevitably, as people worried about losing their jobs and their houses, attendance at arts events waned in some communities—just like other discretionary spending outlets such as attendance at sports events and leisure travel. As a result, spending by the typical arts patron dropped 11 percent from 2005 to 2010. Still, arts audiences spent $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission2 in 2010. "These figures are remarkable given the economic climate that was present when the study was conducted," said Lynch." Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™ definitively demonstrates the resilience of America's arts industry. Throughout the recession, the arts sector continued to produce new and exciting work—performances and exhibitions and festivals that entertained, inspired and drew audiences. As the economy rebounds in the coming years, the arts industry is well poised for growth."
Impact of Cultural Tourism
Tourism industry research has consistently shown that arts tourists stay longer and spend more than the average traveler. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™ results reflect this principle. Among those audience members surveyed, 32 percent live outside the county in which the arts event took place. And, their event-related spending is more than twice that of their local counterparts ($39.96 vs. $17.42). While these figures are declines from the previous study—39 percent of attendees were nonlocal in the 2005 study and spent $40.19 on average—the point remains: communities that draw cultural tourists experience an additional boost of economic activity that further propels local economic engines.
"Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™ proves that the arts and the cultural tourists that flock to them are good for the economy," explains Lynch, who also serves on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. "The arts are magnets for tourists, and local businesses reap the financial rewards of the increased spending they bring to local economies. Simply put, the arts and culture industry is a cornerstone of tourism and economic development in America."
You can find the full results HERE
1 Figures based on data from 9,721 nonprofit arts and culture organizations from 182 communities and regions (139 cities and counties, 31 multi-county or multi-city regions, 10 states and two arts districts), representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The diverse communities range in population from 1,600 to 4 million and from small rural to large urban.
2 Figures are calculated using 151,802 audience-intercept surveys conducted for Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™.