Skip to main content
Philanthropy Journal Home

Philanthropy Journal News

Arts seen fueling economy

 | 

By Todd Cohen

The arts are an economic engine.

In 2005, nonprofit arts and culture generated $166.2 billion in spending in the U.S., including $463.3 million in five North Carolina counties surveyed, a new study says.

That’s up from $134 billion in national economic activity in 2000, says Americans for the Arts.

The study also found the nonprofit arts industry generates $29.6 billion in annual federal, state and local tax revenue throughout the U.S., including a total of $45 million in local and state tax revenue in Buncombe, Guilford, Forsyth, Mecklenburg and Wake counties.

The nonprofit arts industry also accounts for 5.7 million jobs in the U.S. including nearly 16,000 in the five North Carolina counties surveyed.

“The arts are a great investment,” says Jeanie Duncan, president and CEO of the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro.

Eleanor Jordan, president and CEO of the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, says the arts are a “clean” industry that attracts visitors and fuels economic growth.

“And the investment of public dollars as well as private dollars in arts and culture clearly pays off,” she says.

Milton Rhodes, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, says the study should spur the arts community to better brand, package and promote the arts.

“We’ve got to maximize the way we do business,” he says.

Adrienne Crowther, executive director of the Asheville Area Arts Council in says the arts are critical to the economy.

“This is an industry and it should carry the same weight as other industries,” she says. “If the arts were not here, there would be a huge dip in our local economy.”

And Lee Keesler, president and CEO of the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte, says public and private dollars invested in the arts and cultural sector “generate an economic impact that is multiples of direct investment and represents a significant impact on our local economy.”

The study, based on data from 2005 and 2006, tracks the economic impact of the nonprofit arts-and-culture industry in 156 communities and regions.

Nationally, nonprofit arts groups spend $63.1 billion and generate another $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences, excluding admission costs.

Nonprofit arts throughout the U.S. also generate $104.2 billion in residential household income.

In the five North Carolina counties surveyed, nonprofit arts group annually spend nearly $192 million directly, and generate another $271 million in event-related spending by their audiences, excluding admission costs.

The impact of the arts on household income to residents in the five North Carolina counties totals $283.4 million.

Annual attendance at arts and culture events in the five counties totaled 10.5 million in 2005, including 1.2 million in Buncombe, nearly 2 million in Forsyth, 984,000 in Guilford, 3.8 million in Mecklenburg and 2.5 million in Wake.

Event-related spending by arts audiences nationally averages $27.79 per person for costs such as hotels, restaurants, parking, souvenirs and refreshments, with visitors from outside the community spending $40.19 and local residents spending $19.53.

In the North Carolina counties surveyed, excluding the price of event admissions, average event-related spending per person totaled $39.65 in Buncombe, $24.54 in Forsyth, $17.18 in Guilford, $25.26 in Mecklenburg and $24.15 in Wake.

Excluding admission costs, county residents on average spent $26.46 in Buncombe, $18.30 in Forsyth, $12.60 in Guilford, $20.43 in Mecklenburg and $21.68 in Wake, while visitors on average spent $60.01 in Buncombe, $42.88 in Forsyth, $32.02 in Guilford, $34.08 in Mecklenburg and $29.37 in Wake.

ARTS IMPACT

Measures of the arts economic impact in the U.S. and in the five North Carolina counties surveyed include:

U.S.

* Total arts and culture spending – $166.2 billion

* Arts groups’ direct spending — $63.1 billion

* Audience arts spending, excluding admissions — $103.1 billion

* Arts-generated federal, state and local tax revenue — $29.6 billion

* Nonprofit jobs (full-time equivalent) – 5.7 million

* Arts impact on residential household income –$104.2 billion

* Average event-related spending/person – $27.79

* Average resident’s arts spending – $19.53

* Average visitor’s arts spending – $40.19

Buncombe County

* Total arts and culture spending –$65.1 million

* Arts groups’ direct spending — $16.8 million

* Audience arts spending, excluding admissions — $48.4 million

* Arts-generated state and local tax revenue — $7.6 million

* Nonprofit jobs (full-time equivalent) – 2,192

* Arts’ impact on residential household income – $36.2 million

* Residents’ arts attendance – 741,000

* Visitors’ arts attendance – 479,000

* Average event-related spending/person, excluding admissions –$39.65

* Average resident’s arts spending – $26.46

* Average visitor’s arts spending – $60.01

* Arts volunteers – 360

* Arts volunteer hours – 62,661

* Value of arts volunteer time — $1.1 million

Forsyth County

* Total arts and culture spending – $103.8 million

* Arts groups’ direct spending — $55.7 million

* Audience arts spending, excluding admissions — $48.1 million

* Arts-generated state and local tax revenue — $10.4 million

* Nonprofit jobs (full-time equivalent) – 3,772

* Arts impact on residential household income –$70.3 million

* Residents’ arts attendance – 1.5 million

* Visitors’ arts attendance – 498,000

* Average event-related spending/person, excluding admissions –$24.54

* Average resident’s arts spending – $18.30

* Average visitor’s arts spending – $42.88

* Arts volunteers – 6,531

* Arts volunteer hours – 168,267

* Value of arts volunteer time — $3 million

Guilford County

* Total arts and culture spending – $30.7 million

* Arts groups’ direct spending — $13.8 million

* Audience arts spending, excluding admissions — $16.9 million

* State and local tax revenue — $2.9 million

* Nonprofit jobs (full-time equivalent) – 1,094

* Arts impact on residential household income –$19.7 million

* Residents’ arts attendance – 752,823

* Visitors’ arts attendance – 231,388

* Average event-related spending/person, excluding admissions – $17.18

* Average resident’s arts spending – $12.60

* Average visitor’s arts spending – $32.03

* Arts volunteers – 4,908

* Arts volunteer hours – 171,629

* Value of arts volunteer time — $3.1 million

Mecklenburg County

* Total arts and culture spending – $157.96 million

* Arts groups’ direct spending – $61.94 million

* Audience arts spending, excluding admissions — $96.02 million

* Arts-generated state and local tax revenue — $14.06 million

* Nonprofit jobs – 4,771 (full-time equivalent)

* Arts impact on residential household income — $92.9 million

* Residents’ arts attendance – 2.5 million

* Visitors’ arts attendance – 1.3 million

* Average event-related spending/person, excluding admissions – $25.16

* Average resident’s arts spending – $20.43

* Average visitor’s arts spending – $34.08

* Arts volunteers – 15,138

* Arts volunteer hours – 589,140

* Value of arts volunteer time — $10.6 million

Wake County

* Total arts and culture spend
ing — $105.76 million

* Arts groups’ direct spending — $43.74 million

* Audience arts spending, excluding admissions — $62.03 million

* Arts-generated state and local tax revenue — $10.05 million

* Nonprofit arts jobs – 3,983 (full-time equivalent)

* Arts impact on residential household income – $64.3 million

* Residents’ arts attendance –1.7 million

* Visitors’ arts attendance – 821,000

* Average event-related spending/person, excluding admissions – $24.15

* Average resident’s arts spending – $21.68

* Average visitor’s arts spending – $29.37

* Arts volunteers – 6,112

* Arts volunteer hours – 182,759

* Value of arts volunteer time — $3.3 million

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.