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Study: FC nonprofits, arts generate $130 Million in economic activity

By Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County


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Fairfield, CT - The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County announced the national and Fairfield County results of Arts & Economic Prosperity IVTM, a national research study conducted by Americans for the Arts, America's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts. The study evaluates the impact spending, by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences, has on the economy. The results were presented at a legislative breakfast by Steve Wolff, founding Principal of AMS Planning & Research Corp. and AMS Analytics, and the chair of the Arts Committee of the Fairfield County Community Foundation. CT Senators Bob Duff and John McKinney and U.S. Congressman Jim Himes made remarks on the findings.

The study shows conclusively that the arts are big business. Nationally, the arts and culture industry is an economic engine, generating $135.2 billion dollars of economic activity-$61.1 billion in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations, plus an additional $74.1 billion in spending by their audiences. The arts and culture industry also supports 4.1 million full-time jobs, and generates $22.2 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments every year-a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations. The arts and culture sector is the cornerstone of tourism.

Findings for Fairfield County demonstrate the impact of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences on our local economy. The results show that the total arts and culture impact of the organizations surveyed is $130,000,000 in spending. Event spending alone generated $46 million excluding the cost of admission. Those organizations surveyed provided 3,972 full-time jobs paying household income of $88,292,000, and generated an additional $10.5 million in local and State government revenue. Visitors to Fairfield County spent an average of $25.84 per arts and culture event they attended excluding ticket costs. The seventy-seven organizations surveyed included the major organizations, but represent only a portion of the total arts and culture organizations in the county. So while the results are rigorous and reliable, they are also conservative.

The findings demonstrate that the arts remain a formidable industry in spite of our country's recent economic challenges. "This study sends an important message to our leaders-that supporting the arts and culture industry is an investment in the economic well being of our region, our state and our nation,"said Ryan Odinak, Executive Director of the Cultural Alliance. "We all know that the arts improve our quality of life. This study shows conclusively that a small investment in the arts yields a BIG return to our economy. The impact is felt not only in our theaters and museums but in our local paint stores and restaurants."

Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County Board President, Elisabeth Morten stated, "Investing in the arts makes strong business sense. The arts support jobs, generate tax revenue and stimulate tourism. They help communities succeed in a shifting economic landscape. The arts also promote stronger and more vibrant communities."

"Understanding and acknowledging the incredible economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture, we must always remember their fundamental value," said Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of the Americans for the Arts. "They foster beauty, creativity, originality, and vitality. The arts inspire us, sooth us, provoke us, involve us and connect us. But they also create jobs and contribute to the economy."

Fairfield County is one of 182 regions across all 50 United States and the District of Columbia that participated in the study. The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, as a study partner, coordinated the gathering of detailed economic and event attendance data from nonprofit arts and culture organizations located throughout Fairfield County. The Housatonic Valley Cultural Alliance was a regional partner in collecting data. Arts and culture organizations collaborated in collecting audience surveys from attendees throughout Fairfield County during 2011.

Americans for the Arts' Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study is supported by the Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Major funding for the Fairfield County study was provided by the Betty R. and Ralph Sheffer Foundation. National partners include the United States Conference of Mayors, the Business and Civic Leadership Center, and the National Conference of State Legislators among others.




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