A recent study by Americans for the Arts has found that Northwest Arkansas’ nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $131.2 million in economic activity in 2015 – $67.5 million in spending by arts and culture organizations and an additional $63.7 million in event-related spending by their audiences. This activity supported 4,647 jobs and generated $14 million in government revenue. The complete report for Benton and Washington counties is available here.
The Arts & Economic Prosperity® Study is conducted nationally every five years. AEP5, the fifth study to be completed, documents the economic contributions of the nonprofit arts industry across the country as well as in 341 study regions, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia during Fiscal Year 2015. Northwest Arkansas, defined for this purpose as Benton and Washington counties, was the only Arkansas study region included in the report. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Scott Family Amazeum were not yet online for the 2010 study.
“Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 quantifies the economic benefits of arts and culture organizations within a community,” said Randy Cohen, vice president of Research and Policy for the American for the Arts. “This study changes the conversation about the arts from that of a ‘charity’ to one about an ‘industry’ that provides both cultural and economic benefits to the community.” Cohen detailed the findings today during a news conference at the Rogers World Trade Center.
Key AEP5 Findings for NWA:
Key AEP5 Findings Nationally:
The study includes 23 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations located in Northwest Arkansas. Each partner provided detailed budget information for FY15 including labor, payments to local and nonlocal artists, operations, administration, programming, facilities and capital expenditures/asset acquisition. And 822 patrons were surveyed about spending around their attendance to arts events. Project economists customized input-output models for each study region to ensure reliable and actionable localized results.
“With current threats of cutting funding for nonprofit organizations, this study is timely,” Cohen said. “The $27.5 billion generated in revenue by the arts industry nationally back to the government shows that municipal, state and federal arts support is not a one-way street. Arts organizations provide jobs, support the economy and the government while they also educate, entertain and increase our quality of lives.”
The full report, a map of the 341 study regions and an economic impact summary for each can be found at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.