Valley arts groups contribute $450M to economy

Nonprofit | 28 Aug | AZ Business Magazine

Nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences in Phoenix, Mesa and seven West Valley communities contributed more than $450 million in direct economic activity in 2015, supporting 14,597 fulltime jobs and generating $50 million in local and state government revenues, according to Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, a national study conducted by Americans for the Arts.

Participating nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent a total of $194.5 million while attendees spent $259.1 million, excluding the cost of event admission.

The nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the City of Phoenix, the City of Mesa and West Valley cities Avondale, Glendale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Surprise and Wickenburg were among 341 communities across the nation participating in the study, which included detailed budget information in more than 40 expenditure categories.

Nearly 213,000 surveys were collected from event attendees across the country where nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences collectively spent $166.3 billion to support 4.6 million jobs.

In Phoenix, arts and cultural organizations and their audiences accounted for nearly $402 million in expenditures ($164.6 million by organizations, $237.2 million by audiences). In Mesa, total spending was $29.6 million ($16.8 million by organizations, $12.8 by audiences).  West Valley expenditures totaled $22.9 million ($13.1 million by organizations, $9.8 by audiences).

“Participation in arts and culture events clearly show that the arts mean business,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who will host a presentation of the report findings, “Building a Prosperous Phoenix Through the Arts,” from 8:30-10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at the Arizona Opera, 1636 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. He will be joined by Americans for the Arts Vice President Randy Cohen. “The results of the study reinforce the fact there is an obvious demand for the supply because people clearly want quality arts and culture opportunities.”

Expenditures in 2015 supported 12,815 full time jobs in Phoenix, 1,024 in Mesa and 758 in the West Valley.  Expenditures also generated $19.5 million in local-government revenue in Phoenix and $24.9 million to state coffers.  Mesa spending produced $1.3 million in local government revenue and $1.7 million to the state.  The impact in the West Valley was $1.1 million in local government revenue and $1.5 million to the state.

“The study shows the undeniable economic impact of arts and culture organizations in Mesa and the vital revenue audiences bring into our local businesses,“ said Mesa Mayor John Giles.  “Growth in attendance in recent years reinforces that there is a strong desire for arts experiences and opportunities in our city.”

Bernadette Carroll, executive director of the West Valley Arts Council, added that “communities supporting arts and culture enhance both their quality of life and their community’s economic well-being.  We also know from individual survey results that people will go elsewhere to experience arts and culture if they can’t find it in their own communities.”

In 2015, nonprofit arts and cultural event attendees spent an average of $34.80 per person, excluding the cost of admission, in Phoenix, $17.77 in Mesa and $16.60 in the West Valley.       

“Every dollar spent on nonprofit arts and culture produces a significant return on a significant investment,” said Catherine “Rusty” Foley, executive director of the statewide arts and cultural advocacy organization, Arizona Citizens for the Arts.

For the full national study, visit www.artsusa.org.

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