The Arts Mean Business. That is the message being delivered today by Morris Arts, who, in partnership with the Morris County Economic Development Corporation and ArtPride New Jersey, announced it has joined the Arts & Economic Prosperity, 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 during 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, Morris Arts and the Morris County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) will collect detailed financial data about local nonprofit arts and culture organizations such as theater and dance companies, museums, festivals and arts education organizations.
“Many people don’t think of nonprofit arts organizations as businesses,” said Richard Mahler, managing director at PwC, “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.”
Morris Arts and MCEDC 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.
Tom Werder, executive director of Morris Arts noted, “This study will show that when we support the arts and culture in Morris County, we are making an investment in an industry, one that supports jobs and generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism.”
According to Americans for the Arts’ most recent national study, the nonprofit arts industry generated $135.2 billion in total economic activity and supported 4.1 million full-time equivalent jobs during 2010, resulting in $22.3 billion in federal, state and local government revenues. The $135.2 billion total included $61.1 billion in spending by arts organizations and $74.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences on items such as meals, local transportation and overnight lodging.
“Our Arts & Economic Prosperity series demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “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.”
Morris Arts, located in Morristown, is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1973 dedicated to building community through the arts. The Morris County Economic Development Corporation, in Florham Park, is a division of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.