the arts 

Arts & Economic Prosperity

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Overview

In 2011, the City of Tacoma's Arts Commission participated in a national study called Arts & Economic Prosperity IV. The study documented the economic impact that nonprofit arts and culture organizations, and their audiences, have on the economy, both locally and nationally. 

About the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV Study

The study was conducted by Americans for the Arts, in cooperation with 182 communities and regions representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The diverse communities range in population (1,600 to 4 million) and type (rural to urban). The study focuses on nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences and excludes spending by individual artists and the for-profit arts and entertainment sector. Detailed expenditure data was collected from 9,721 non-profit arts and culture organizations and 151,802 of their attendees. Project economists from the Georgia Institute of Technology customized input/output analysis models for each study region to provide the resulting specific and reliable economic impact data.

By demonstrating that investing in the arts and culture yields economic benefits, this study lays to rest the common misconception that communities support the arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. In fact, communities that support the arts and culture not only enhance their quality of life, they also invest in their economic well-being. The arts mean business!

National Study Results

America's nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $135.2 billion in economic activity every year - $61.12 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $74.08 billion in event-related spending by audiences (not including cost of event admission). The national impact of this activity is significant, supporting 4.13 million jobs and generating $22.33 billion in government revenue. 

Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry Nationwide (expenditures by both organizations and audiences)
Total Expenditures                    $135.2 billion
Full-Time Equivalent Jobs              4.13 million
Resident Household Income       $86.68 billion
Local Government Revenue         $6.07 billion
State Government Revenue         $6.67 billion
Federal Income Tax Revenue       $9.59 billion

Click here to see the entire AEP IV National study results (9MB PDF)

Click here to see a summary of the AEP IV National study results (4MB PDF)

Tacoma Study Results

The nonprofit arts and culture are a $64.72 million industry in Tacoma - one that supports 1,735 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $6.58 million in local and state government revenue. Nonprofit arts and culture organizations, which spend $34.86 million annually, leverage a remarkable $29.86 million in additional spending by arts and culture audiences (not including cost of event admission).

Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry in Tacoma (expenditures by both organizations and audiences)
Total Expenditures                    $64.72 million
Full-Time Equivalent Jobs            1,735 
Resident Household Income       $40.52 million
Local Government Revenue         $2.82 million
State Government Revenue         $3.76 million

This study also tracked the event-related spending by audience members. Of the 1,224,097 nonprofit arts and culture audience members in 2010 (this number was reported by the 44 organizations who participated in the study), 73.8% reside within Pierce County and 26.2% reside outside Pierce County. Furthermore, audience surveys reveal that non-local attendees spend an average of 58% more than their local counterparts. 

Event-Related Arts and Culture Audience Spending in Tacoma by Residents of Pierce County (expenditures do not include cost of event admission)
Resident Attendees                    903,384
Percent of Total Attendees          73.8%
Per Person Spending Average     $21.17
Total Spending                          $19,124,639

Event-Related Arts and Culture Audience Spending in Tacoma by Non-Residents of Pierce County (expenditures do not include cost of event admission)
Non-Resident Attendees              320,713
Percent of Total Attendees           26.2%
Per Person Spending Average      $33.46
Total Spending                           $10,731,057

Click here to see the entire AEP IV Tacoma study results (PDF)

Click here to see a summary of the AEP IV Tacoma study results (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions

What do all these figures mean?
- Communities that invest in the arts reap the additional benefits of jobs, economic growth, and a quality of life that positions those communities to compete in our 21st century creative economy.

What makes the economic impact of the arts unique?
- What makes the economic impact of arts and culture organizations unique is that, unlike most other industries, they introduce large amounts of related spending (such as meals, ground transportation, and souvenirs) by their audiences. All of these expenditures have a positive and measurable impact on the economy.

Who was included in this study?
- This study focuses on the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and event-related spending by their audiences. Not included in this study are spending by individual artists and the for-profit arts and culture sector (such as for-profit galleries, Broadway, and the motion picture industry).

What are the Tacoma findings based on?
- Tacoma's study results are based solely on actual survey data collected, not on fiscal projections. In the City of Tacoma, 44 of the approximately 116 total eligible nonprofit arts and culture organizations identified by the Community and Economic Development Department responded to the survey - a response rate of 38%. Figures given in the study results are based solely on the information provided by these 44 organizations. Data was also collected from 1,045 event attendees during 2011 through an audience-intercept methodology. The 44 nonprofit arts and culture organizations that responded to the detailed organizational survey reported that the aggregate attendance to their events was 1.2 million in 2010.

How was the survey information analyzed?
- Project economists from the Georgia Institute of Technology customized an input/output analysis model for the City of Tacoma to measure the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry. Input/output analysis is a system of mathematical equations that combines statistical methods and economic theory. It enables economists to track how many times a dollar is "re-spent" within the local economy, and the economic impact generated by each round of spending.

2006 AEP III Study

In 2006, the City of Tacoma's Arts Commission participated in Arts & Economic Prosperity III. The results of this study were released in June 2007. 

National Study Results
Click here to see the entire AEP III National study results (7MB PDF)

Tacoma Study Results
Click here to see the entire AEP III Tacoma study results (PDF)

Click here to see a summary of the AEP III study results (PDF)

Tacoma Study Results in the News
Arts Community's Economic Impact Helps Lift Tacoma
- Tacoma News Tribune, July 18, 2007

About Americans for the Arts

Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. Established in 1960, they are dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. For more information, visit their website or contact them by phone at (202) 371-2830.