The Arts Mean Business. That is the message being delivered today by The Belfast Creative Coalition, who 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, The Belfast Creative Coalition and other cultural organizations will collect detailed financial data about our 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,” said Thomas Kittredge, economic development director for the City of Belfast, “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.”
The Belfast Creative Coalition will also 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 and 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 calendar year 2016. The results of the study will be released in June of 2017.
“We are excited to finally have real numbers about the arts economic impact to our area,” said Kimberly Callas, Belfast Creative Coalition’s executive director. “This study will show that when we support the arts in Belfast, we are making an investment in an industry, one that supports jobs and generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism.”
Within a 20 mile radius of Belfast is a rich concentration of artistic talent, individual craftsmanship and cultural heritage that deserves to be recognized and promoted. Recognizing the Belfast area’s three gems of art, local food and beautiful land, BCC boosts the efforts of this local, well-recognized and highly-respected cluster of arts, cultural and farm endeavors. For more information, visit belfastcreativecoalition.org/