Arts and Economic Prosperity 5

The Arts Mean Business In Wisconsin

June 2018: MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Arts Board joins Americans for the Arts in announcing the results of a comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry conducted in Wisconsin from 2016-2017.  The study reveals that local nonprofit arts organizations generate $657 million in economic activity annually, resulting in nearly $75 million in local and state tax revenues, 26,695 in full-time equivalent jobs and $555 million in resident income.

These results were compiled as part of a national report entitled Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 released today. A PDF version of the full Wisconsin report may be found here.

"The arts and culture – the creative industries – mean jobs for Wisconsin," Arts Board Chairperson Kevin Miller stated.  "This new study underscores the importance of the creative industries' return on investment, through the many jobs in the arts, and the important role they play in creating the vibrant communities necessary to retain and attract the entrepreneurs and skilled workforce Wisconsin needs in order to compete in the 21stcentury."

The Wisconsin study was commissioned by the Wisconsin Arts Board as part of its legislative mandate to study the arts in Wisconsin. The Arts Board also helped to facilitate the gathering of the detailed economic data from 363 Wisconsin arts organizations as well as 8,060 audience surveys.  The study measures only the impact provided by organizations and audiences, and excludes spending by individual artists and the for-profit arts and entertainment sector (like Broadway or the film industry).

"The Wisconsin Arts Board is proud to have partnered with Americans for the Arts on this study," said George Tzougros, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Arts Board.  "We value the arts for their intrinsic worth, and this study reminds us that we can also value their economic contributions.  We thank Wisconsin's nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences for participating in the study and for their significant contributions to Wisconsin's creative economy."

In this study, economic impact is defined as the employment (full-time equivalent jobs), resident household income (salary, wages, proprietary income), and government revenue (taxes, license fees, and all the ways governments collect revenue) generated by the dollars spent in the community by nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences.

The $657 million total includes $377 million in spending by arts organizations and $280 million in event-related spending by arts audiences – excluding the costs of admission.

The $280 million in event-related spending by arts audiences reflects an average of $37.26 per person in spending for hotels, restaurants, parking, souvenirs, refreshments, or other similar costs—with non-local attendees spending significantly more than local attendees ($78.38  compared to $30.27).

Nationally, according to the Americans for the Arts report, the nonprofit arts industry generates 4.6 million jobs and $166.3 billion in economic activity every year, resulting in $27.5 billion in federal, state, and local government revenues. The $166.3 billion total includes $63.8 billion in spending by arts organizations and $102.5 billion in event-related spending by arts audiences.

"This study demonstrates that the arts provide both cultural and economic benefits, said Robert L. Lynch, Americans for the Arts President and CEO.  "No longer do community leaders need to feel that a choice must be made between arts funding and economic development.  Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 proves that they can choose both.  Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business."

The national study was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Barr Foundation, and The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts' local and statewide project partners—such as the Wisconsin Arts Board—contributed both time and financial support to the study. The full text of the national report is available here.

The Wisconsin Arts Board is the state agency which nurtures creativity, cultivates expression, promotes the arts, supports the arts in education, stimulates community and economic development and serves as a resource for people of every culture and heritage.

Americans for the Arts is the nation's nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America.  Established in 1960, Americans for the Arts' is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.​