For Immediate Release
Date: January 20, 2016
The City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs 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 Department of Cultural Affairs will collect detailed financial data about local nonprofit arts and culture organizations such as theater and dance companies, museums, festivals, and arts education organizations.
"While connecting artists and audiences is our primary endeavor, one of the great byproducts is the significant direct spending that occurs annually as a result of our festival,” said Savannah Music Festival Executive & Artistic Director Rob Gibson. “The Arts & Economic Prosperity study is an important barometer for us and other local nonprofit organizations, helping us gauge the collective impact of arts and culture in Savannah while showing us how our city ranks on statewide, regional and national levels.”
The Department of Cultural Affairs 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.
Department of Cultural Affairs Director Eileen Baker said, “This study will provide data to assess needs and opportunities, develop long and short range plans, and illustrate how the Greater Savannah Creative Industry compares to other communities of similar size.”
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. 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, visit www.AmericansForTheArts.org/AEP5Partners.
The City of Savannah is committed to provide leadership in fostering programs that educate and expose citizens to a rich and diverse range of cultural expressions, to support artistic programs that celebrate creativity, create educational opportunities, encourage economic growth and enhance Savannah’s reputation as a cultural destination.