Arts Industry Returns $671,000 in Revenue to Local and State Coffers
Brevard, NC – Last year, Transylvania County was one of 182 study groups representing all 50 states and Washington DC that participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study to determine the economic impact of the arts in our county. The most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. The Transylvania Community Arts Council spearheaded this study in our county.
Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study reveals that the nonprofit arts and culture industry produced $135.2 billion in economic activity during FY2010. 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 that 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, federal, state and local governments and provides quality of life that positions communities to compete in our 21st century creative economy.”
The State of North Carolina was one of 10 state regions in this study. It ranked 3rd behind the States of Illinois and Pennsylvania producing $1.2 billion in nonprofit arts and culture expenditures, supported 43,605 full-time equivalent jobs and generated $119 million in local and state revenues.
In Transylvania County, 14 of the participating Arts and Culture nonprofits generated $8,600,000 in annual economic activity—supporting 240 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $671,000 in local and state government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV national economic impact study.
According to the study, these participating Transylvania County nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $4,366,000 during fiscal year 2010. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated $4,909,000 in household income for local residents and $671,000 in local and state government revenues. And all of this was in an economic down year. The economic comparisons between 2005, the last time this study was done, and 2010 showed unemployment up, consumer confidence down foreclosures up, local attendees down, recreation, entertainment, shopping, tourism, food & beverage all down in 2010.
Tammy Hopkins, executive director of the TC Arts Council said, "$8,600,000 in annual economic activity, that’s a big number. However this number is the economic impact of just 14 of our local nonprofit arts and culture organizations. This study only included the nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the county. It did not include any of the for-profit organizations such as the art galleries, art businesses, artists and musicians in the community. Imagine how big the ARTS economic impact number would be if they were all included."
Paula Wesley, who spearheaded this study for the Transylvania Community Arts Council, said, “It took a lot of cooperation from the arts and culture organizations, donors and volunteers to do this study. During this study, we discovered that Transylvania County has 80 nonprofit arts and culture organizations, 24 art galleries and 59 arts and cultural related businesses putting on 262 art events a year. Not bad for a town with under 50,000 population! And even with only 14 of our 80 nonprofit arts and culture organizations participating in this study, we ranked 8th in the country among our study group of 19 with populations under 50,000.”
And nonprofits depend heavily on their volunteers. The study showed that in Transylvania County the 14 participating arts and culture organizations reported 1680 volunteers contributed 34,820 donated hours representing a value of $743,733.
Arts Industry Boon for Local Businesses
In addition to spending by organizations, the Transylvania County nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages $4,194,000 in event-related spending by its audiences. As a result of attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. What’s more, attendees from out of town often stay overnight in a local hotel. In Transylvania County, these dollars support 240 full-time equivalent jobs and generate $671,000 in local and state government revenues.
The study also showed that residents spent an average of $15 per event where as no-residents spent an average of $47 at the same event. 59.4% of our attendees said this event was their primary purpose for the trip to Transylvania County. In addition, 51.3% of Transylvania County residents reported that they would have traveled to a different community in order to attend a similar cultural event and 65.9% of non-residents reported the same. According to the report, this shows that “if a community does not provide a variety of artistic and cultural experiences, it will fail to attract the new dollars of cultural tourists. It will also lose the discretionary spending of its local residents who will travel elsewhere to experience the arts.”
Linda A. Carlisle, the state’s cultural resources secretary, said in a news release that the study shows “that an investment in the arts is an investment in a growth industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue and is one of the cornerstones of tourism.” Wayne Martin, executive director of the NC Arts Council, said the study highlights the fact that arts organizations are businesses. “They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from within the community, are members of the Chamber of Commerce…and are key participants in marketing their cities and regions.”
TC Arts Council cannot thank enough the following individuals who made this study possible by their financial support and encouragement: Nick Bayne, RCG Realty; Bruce & Sandy Kirkman; Joe Bruneau, Number 7 Fine Arts & Crafts Cooperative; Joan VanOrman & Sue Hershey, Bluewood Photography; Mike Kanan, Exit Realty; Madrid Zimmerman, Heart of Brevard; John Gardner & Betsy Barefoot; Mark Burrows, Economic Development; Tourism Development Authority; Tammy Hopkins, TC Arts Council; and last, but not least John Felty, Looking Glass Entertainment.
Special recognition and appreciation is paid to John Felty for his participation in this study because at every event he organized at the Porter Center he encouraged the audience to take the survey and support the arts. His efforts allowed the TC Arts Council to reach the survey goal for the year.
Wesley also recognized her lead surveyor, Beth Sumner, Manager at Elements Spa for giving up week nights and weekends to help her survey the cultural audiences. Several other volunteers assisted with the surveys throughout the year as well. They are Julia Batliner, Dee Whinnery, Cindy Roach, Paul Thomas, Don Bieger and Dan Donofrio.
Wesley said, “Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. They have conducted hundreds of similar economic impact studies in all 50 states. Their methodology is so sound that their economic impact data is used consistently by the Congressional Arts Caucus on the floor of the US House of Representatives to support federal arts funding.”
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 national statistical report is available at www.Americansforthearts.org/economicimpact . Research Partners who endorse this study are: the United States Conference of Mayors, Business Civic Leadership Center, National Association of Counties, Grantmakers in the Arts, Destination Marketing Association International, CECP (an international forum of business CEO’s), National League of Cities and The Conference Board.
For more information call Paula Wesley or Tammy Hopkins at the TC Arts Council 828-884-2787 or go to www.tcarts.org. To pick up a study packet stop by the TC Arts Council located at 349 S. Caldwell Street in Brevard. To learn more about the ARTS of Brevard and Transylvania County go to www.artsofbrevard.org.
Click here to download the Arts & Economic Prosperity Report
Click here to download the Summary of Economic Impact Findings