The Wisconsin Arts Board Joins Americans for the Arts' National Study of the Economic Impact of Spending by Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences

For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2016 
Grace Hucek
(608) 266-9737
grace.hucek@wisconsin.gov

Madison, WI — The Arts Mean Business. That is the message being delivered today by the Wisconsin Arts Board, which 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, a nonprofit organization advancing the arts and arts education in the United States. 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 and the District of Columbia, the Wisconsin Arts Board will work with groups around the state to collect detailed financial data about Wisconsin's local nonprofit arts and culture organizations, including theater and dance companies, museums, festivals, and arts education organizations.  Because the Wisconsin Arts Board is funding the statewide study, six local communities are also able to commission local economic impact studies at a significantly reduced rate: Dane County (Dane Arts), Door County (Peninsula Arts and Humanities Alliance), Eau Claire County (Eau Claire Regional Arts Council), Greater Fox Cities Region (Fox Cities Performing Arts Center), the Greater Green Bay Area (Mosaic Arts), and the City of La Crosse (Viterbo University Fine Arts Center).

"This study will once again make clear that the arts are a formidable industry in Wisconsin, employing people locally, purchasing goods and services from local merchants, generating government revenue, and helping to drive tourism and economic development," said George Tzougros, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Arts Board.

The Wisconsin Arts Board will also work with groups around the state to 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, not including the event ticket cost. 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 June 2017.

According to the most recent national study by Americans for the Arts, 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. Complete details about the fiscal year 2010 study are available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/EconomicImpact.

"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."

Americans for the Arts' Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study is supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. In addition, Americans for the Arts' local and statewide study partners are contributing both time and a cost-sharing fee support to the study.  For a full list of the nearly 300 Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study partners, including the seven from Wisconsin, visit www.AmericansForTheArts.org/AEP5Partners.

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.

For more information on the Wisconsin study click here.