Jobs, Commerce, Tourism: A community’s investment in Arts & Culture makes them all increase.
Supporting the Arts is an investment in local community and economic development. Arts & Culture bring more people to a community, Arts & Culture visitors spend more and stay longer, and creating a more vibrant sense of place attracts new businesses (and jobs).
Last year, my family and I were excited when the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presented the Music of Star Wars! My husband and I had never attempted to take our children to the symphony (quite frankly, we didn’t think they’d appreciate, we thought they’d ruin our experience by whining ‘Mommy, can we get a snack?’, and we didn’t want to pay for the privilege of their nagging). But, Star Wars?!?!?! This was the perfect introduction – we ALL love Star Wars! I purchased matinee seats and we donned our dress-up jeans and bustled ourselves to the Robinson Theater in Little Rock.
We had gambled correctly! Both kids LOVED the show! My daughter, Abigail, even expressed renewed interest in her violin (short lived, but still…) We loved seeing the dedicated symphonites dressed in their custom made R2-D2 tuxedos and BB-8 gowns.
After the show, we went to an early dinner and walked around the river before driving back home for the evening.
The symphony had lured us downtown, and while we were there, we spent some time touring and spent money on food.
I am a typical arts & culture tourist. As found in the “Arts & Economic Prosperity 5” study by the Americans for the Arts, visitors that travel for arts and culture events spend TWICE as much in the local area than their counterparts (that does NOT include the cost of the event).* In fact, nationally, spending by arts audiences sends $102.5 BILLION to local businesses.*
Communities who support their local nonprofit arts organizations recognize these organizations are the conduit to centralizing the arts and artists in the area, galvanizing tourism for arts events. These local nonprofit arts organizations (like CFAC) are integral to the economy, pumping $63.8 BILLION into the economy annually.
We all knew Cabot desperately needed an organization like CFAC. As we grow, we’ll be a beacon to artists and art lovers from around the Central Arkansas area. It’s exciting to think about our contribution to local economic development (directly and indirectly) as we work – together with the citizens who’ve trusted us to push forward – to finalize details for a home.
One more quick fact: Did you know that 82% of Americans believe Arts & Culture are important to local businesses and the economy?* Of course you did!
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*The data, facts and figures in this post are directly from the Americans for the Arts Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, which can be accessed here.