The Arts Keep Communities Strong

Think Local

By Chris Hoffman

(Sept. 2012) Art, in all its forms, is fundamental to humanity and has the power to transform lives.  Arts education develops well-rounded children and citizens.  Artistic expression connects people from around the globe.  The arts, broadly defined, are essential to a thriving community, creating a sense of place and fueling social and economic growth.

These are the core values of a national nonprofit organization called Americans for the Arts (AFA).  Founded in 1960, AFA’s programs serve over 150,000 members in every state and 13 countries around the world.  AFA represents and serves local communities and creates opportunities for everyone to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.

AFA has just completed a new national study of the impact on the economy of the nonprofit arts and culture industry (“the industry”). The most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted, it provides a quantifiable economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences.  The study uses data from 182 regions representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Findings include the following:

Nationally, the industry generates $135.2 billion of economic activity – $61.1 billion by the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations, in addition to $74.1 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences.

This economic activity supports 4.13 million full-time jobs and generates $86.68 billion in resident household income.  The industry also generates $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments every year – a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations.

The study compiled individualized reports on both the Greater Syracuse area and Chenango County. Those findings include: Greater Syracuse Area:  total industry expenditures of $133,360,641, including $33,892,863 spent by arts and culture organizations and $99,467,778 spent by audiences.

Chenango County:  total industry expenditures of $1,830,375, including $1,019,269 spent by arts and culture organizations and $811,106 spent by audiences.

In the Greater Syracuse Area, the industry supports 5,117 full-time jobs for a total of $110,362,000 in household income paid to residents.  Additionally, the industry generates $12,627,000 in revenue to local government and $7,470,000 in revenue to state government.

In Chenango County, the industry supports 41 full-time jobs for a total of $933,000 in household income paid to residents.  Additionally, the industry generates $117,000 in revenue to local government and $59,000 in revenue to state government.

In the Greater Syracuse Area, all cultural audiences paid an average of $25.93 per person per event on meals and refreshments, souvenirs and gifts, transportation, and overnight lodging, over and above the cost of tickets or admission.  These same expenditures in Chenango County average $18.98 per person per event.

Live music, theater, museums, art galleries, arts education workshops, art shows and art fairs are all part of an astounding $135.2 million impact on the economy of Central New York.  When you go to see a performance or visit a gallery or a museum or purchase anything at an art show or fair, you are helping to maintain a healthy local economy.

So often we have seen policy makers at both the state and federal level cut funding to the arts, presumably because they believe that the arts are superfluous, not really necessary, not fundamental to a functioning society.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is through the beauty and creativity of art that we are able to share the best of what it means to be human, to express our deepest emotions and insights, to inspire creativity and curiosity, to ignite the imagination of a child, to experience life on a plane apart from the mundane and pragmatic.

AFA’s study shows the critical importance of the arts on a different scale – the truly significant impact on our local economy.  Your support, every time you buy a ticket or a piece of art, means that people in your community keep a job and income, that organizations can continue to keep their doors open, that local artists can make a living.  Your money stays in the local community, and your community thrives as a result.

With Christmas just around the corner, please consider gifts this year made by local artists and artisans purchased locally at galleries, shops, and fairs.  Your money will thus benefit your community and ultimately everyone who lives here.

Chris Hoffman lives in the village of Sherburne in her 150+ year-old house where she caters to the demands of her four cats, attempts to grow heirloom tomatoes and herbs and reads voraciously. She passionately pursues various avenues with like-minded friends to preserve and protect a sustainable rural lifestyle for everyone in Central New York. 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  

  

  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.