The latest Arts & Economic Prosperity study has landed and shows that Seattle's (nonprofit) cultural institutions generated $447.6 million in economic activity for Seattle. They supported 10,807 full-time equivalent jobs and helped give the state $38.3 million in tax money.
Every day, more than 100,000 nonprofit arts and culture organizations act as economic drivers—creating an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of our tourism industry. This study documents the key role played by the nonprofit arts and culture industry, and their audiences, in strengthening our nation’s economy.
A press release about the study from Mayor McGinn's office—and it was a savvy move for them to do a little cheerleading for the city's culture constituency—is below the jump. Check out the AEP regional map for downloadable studies for cities across the country, from Juneau to Atlanta.
And a quick caveat: Some people get huffy when other people talk about arts as an economic engine. They want everyone to think art is its own reward. That's a dumb thing to get huffy about. Not everyone is going to think that way, and arts and culture organizations should trumpet whatever their achievements are: artistic, civic, and economic.
Nonprofit arts generate $447.6 million annually for Seattle’s economy
Arts and culture industry returns $38.2 million in government revenue
SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn today announced the results of a comprehensive study showing Seattle’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $447.6 million in annual economic activity, supporting 10,807 full-time equivalent jobs and delivering $38.2 million in local and state government revenues.
The report, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences, the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States, was released today by Americans for the Arts, a national nonprofit arts advocacy group.
“The arts are an essential part of Seattle. This report shows that investing in nonprofit arts and culture organizations yields high returns for the public,” said McGinn. “The arts enhance our quality of life and Seattle’s economic well-being. Our city should be proud to have such a vibrant arts scene that plays a great role in our local economy.”
According to the study, Seattle nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $272 million in 2010. This spending is far-reaching. Organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars in turn generate $248.2 million in household income for local residents.
In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages $175.6 million in additional event-related spending by its audiences. As a result of attending a cultural event, patrons often eat in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs and pay a babysitter. Attendees from out of town often stay overnight in a hotel.
Together the $272 million in spending by organizations and $175.6 million in spending by arts audiences generate $447.6 million annually for Seattle’s economy.
“The arts mean business in Seattle. And the arts give back,” said Vincent Kitch, director of the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. “They are one of the few public investments that result in cultural, social and economic good.”
According to the study, of the 5.9 million people who attended nonprofit arts events in Seattle in 2010, more than 31 percent of them came from outside King County to spend an average of 153 percent more per person than local patrons ($50.96 vs. $20.16), totaling $93.8 million annually.
“These findings underscore the critical role that Seattle’s cultural assets play in attracting new tourism dollars and energizing the local economy,” said Tom Norwalk, president and CEO of Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our vibrant arts community and cultural offerings draw significant numbers of cultural tourists to our city and region. They spend substantially more, benefiting hotels, restaurants, attractions, tour and transportation companies and myriad other businesses.”
Seattle stacked up well compared to other cultural centers in the country: Austin, Texas ($236.1 million); Atlanta, Ga. (nearly $300 million); Baltimore, Md. ($388.2 million); Greater Memphis, Tenn., area ($125.2 million); San Jose, Calif. ($122.6 million); and Dallas, Texas ($322 million).
Seattle finished behind larger cities, including the city and county of San Francisco ($710 million); San Diego, Calif. ($579.4 million); Chicago, Ill. ($2.2 billion); Los Angeles, Calif. ($1.4 billion); and city and county of Philadelphia ($1.2 billion).
Closer to home, the greater Portland area recorded $253.5 million in economic activity. Tacoma came in at $64.7 million; Eugene, Ore., at $45.6 million; and Boise, Idaho, at $48 million.
Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study reveals that the nonprofit arts industry produced $135.2 billion in economic activity during 2010. This spending—$61.1 billion by nonprofit arts and culture organizations plus an additional $74.1 billion by their audiences—supported 4.1 million full-time equivalent jobs and generated $22.3 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.
“This study shines a much-needed light on the vital role the arts play in stimulating and sustaining economic development,” says Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Contrary to popular belief, the arts are a bustling industry that supports a plethora of diverse jobs, generates significant revenues for local businesses and to federal, state and local governments and provides quality of life that positions communities to compete in our 21st century creative economy.”
The Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study.
The full text of the Seattle report is available for download at www.seattle.gov/arts/news/reports_research.asp. The full text of the national statistical report is available at www.americansforthearts.org/economicimpact.
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