The arts matter from the Lascaux cave paintings to L.L. Cool J’s declaration, “I can’t live without my radio!” A recent study by Americans for the Arts sheds light on the importance of arts and culture as an economic driver. The study, known as the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national impact study, is the most comprehensive economic impact study of the non-profit arts and culture scene ever conducted in the United States.
According Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP 5), the arts generates more than $166 billion in economic activity and supports more than 4.5 million jobs. These jobs and economic activity generate $27.5 billion in tax revenues at the federal, state, and local level. Locally, the study reveals that arts and culture organizations spent over $112 million in fiscal year 2015 which in turn generated more than $215 million in household income for Utah residents and almost $28 million in state and local government revenues. Moreover, arts and culture leverage more than $102 billion in event related spending as patrons often go out to lunch or dinner, pay for parking and a sitter, and possibly stay at a hotel.
Karen Krieger, Executive Director of the Salt Lake City Arts Council, enthusiastically noted, “We’re delighted to participate in the Arts and Economic Prosperity project with Americans for the Arts and happy to provide arts and business groups alike information which supports our work together.” Adding, “While it’s evident that Salt lake City is experiencing growth and is flourishing economically, what many may not realize is that businesses intentionally rely on the arts to help build market share, enhance their brand, and reach new customers.” Krieger continued, “A strong arts scene and a culturally vibrant community is a significant economic driver and the results of this survey shed light on the depth to which that is true in Salt Lake City.”
Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, echoed Karen’s thoughts stating, “This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation.” Lynch also noted, “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live.” Finishing the thought, he went on to say, “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.”
Wrapping up, Lara Fritts, Director of the Department of Economic Development for Salt Lake City, articulated, “This in-depth study supports what we have long known and suspected – that arts and culture is core to economic well-being and vitality for Salt Lake City. In fact, a recent business survey conducted by Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development showed similar findings, with the majority of SLC businesses prioritizing the importance of arts and culture in their decision to stay and grown in our city.” Lara went on to conclude, “As Salt Lake City continues its path to becoming nationally and globally recognized for arts and culture, we’re certain these incredible amenities and offerings will impact SLC’s economic future.”
For more information on the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, visit www.americansforthearts.org/aep5partners.