A national study by Americans for the Arts found that the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity in 2015 — $63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $102.5 billion in event-related spending by their audiences. This supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in government revenue, the study found.
Several local arts groups submitted data and helped with patron surveys, including the Cedar City Arts Council, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Cedar City/Brian Head Tourism Office, and Cedar City Economic Development.
“By every measure, the results of Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 prove that the arts are an industry—a generator of government revenue, a cornerstone of tourism, and an 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, growing tourism, attracting an innovative workforce, and community engagement can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts.”
Direct arts industry expenditures in Iron County were over $76 million with a population of 47,000 compared to Logan City with $31 million and a similar population.
“The arts impact adds up to a lot of jobs and local spending,” said Cedar City Arts Council board member Sara Penny. “In contrasting Iron County with comparable communities all over the country, it is clear that the arts are an increasingly important economic resource for our area.”
Nationally, 34 percent of surveyed arts events attendees travel from outside the area and spent about twice what local residents spent in addition to event tickets. Nearly 70 percent of surveyed visitors indicated that they came to the county specifically to attend an arts or cultural event.
The arts contribute to government revenue through the economic activity generated above the investment of government grants. A typical National Endowment for the Arts grant requires matching funds plus a rigorous review and stewardship process. Nationally, the government investment in the arts is about $5 billion, and government revenue generated by the arts is over $27 billion.
Locally, the average cultural attendee expenses are $126 per person plus admission costs to arts events, resulting in over $62 million contributed to the Iron County economy plus admission revenue.
Links for the complete Arts in Prosperity report include a map to check locations throughout the country.