The arts mean business!
That’s the message being delivered today by Yoknapatawpha Arts Council (YAC) which announced it has joined the Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5, a national study measuring the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences.
The research study is being conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s nonprofit organization advancing the arts and arts education. It is the fifth study over the past 20 years to measure the impact of arts spending on local jobs, income paid to local residents and revenue generated to local and state governments.
As one of nearly 300 study partners across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia; YAC, in partnership with local arts and cultural organizations, will collect detailed financial data about local nonprofit arts and culture organizations such as our theater and dance companies, museums, festivals and arts education organizations.
“Many people don’t think of nonprofit arts organizations as businesses, but this study will make clear that the arts are a formidable industry in our community—employing people locally, purchasing goods and services from local merchants and helping to drive tourism and economic development,” YAC director Wayne Andrews said.
The Arts Council has reached out to Visit Oxford, Volunteer Oxford and RSVP, along with arts and cultural organizations, to collect surveys from attendees at arts events using a short, anonymous questionnaire that asks how much money they spent on items such as meals, parking/transportation and retail shopping specifically as a result of attending the event.
Previous studies have shown that the average attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission. Those studies have also shown that, on average, 32 percent of arts attendees travel from outside the county in which the arts event took place, and that those cultural tourists typically spend nearly $40 per person— generating important revenue for local businesses and demonstrating how the arts drive revenue for other businesses in the community.
Surveys will be collected throughout the 2016 calendar year with results of the study being released in June of 2017.
“This study will show that when we support the arts in Lafayette County, we are making an investment in an industry, one that supports jobs and generates government revenue and is the cornerstone of tourism,” Andrews explained.
According to Americans for the Arts’ most recent national study, the nonprofit arts industry generated $135.2 billion in total economic activity and supported 4.1 million full-time equivalent jobs during 2010, resulting in $22.3 billion in federal, state and local government revenues. The $135.2 billion total included $61.1 billion in spending by arts organizations and $74.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences on items such as meals, local transportation and overnight lodging. Complete details about the fiscal year 2010 study are available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/EconomicImpact.
“Our Arts & Economic Prosperity series demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said. “Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”
Lafayette County was the only community in Mississippi selected to take part in the study.
“I think it speaks to the community commitment to the arts that Americans for the Arts worked with us to include a community of our size in this study. We need support for local arts and cultural organizations to ensure the data collected is reflective of the community. We have been reaching out to arts and cultural groups to ask for their involvement, but invite groups to contact the Arts Council to help us provide a complete picture of our community,” Andrews concluded.
The Arts Council, headquartered in the Powerhouse Community Arts Center, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5p.m. Representatives from arts groups in the community can contact the arts council at 662-236-6429 or firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure they are included in the survey.
To learn more about the Arts Council online at www.oxfordarts.com.