An update to a 2012 study measuring the economic impact of arts and science nonprofits in Flagstaff shows that the sector’s contribution has grown dramatically in the past five years.
The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study indicates that the arts and sciences add close to $90 million annually to the local economy, compared to $73 million five years ago.
“The arts and sciences continue to be big business for our region,” said John Tannous, executive director of the Flagstaff Arts Council, which was responsible for gathering the local information used in the report. “Besides providing creativity, beauty, education and entertainment in our region, these sectors support the equivalent of 3,025 full-time jobs and add more than $9 million in local tax revenue.”
Arts & Economic Prosperity is the largest national study ever conducted on the impact of arts, analyzing information from 341 regions in all 50 states. Local information was gathered from 50 participating groups, including nonprofit arts, cultural and science organizations and Northern Arizona University’s College of Arts & Letters. The arts council also conducted more than 2700 “audience intercept interviews” at 88 Flagstaff events last year.
Not included in the study were for-profit organizations, such as galleries, individual artists, venues like the Pepsi Amphitheater and the Orpheum, and for-profit or research-only scientific entities.
Some of the more notable takeaways from the study included how the impact in Flagstaff compares to similar cities in the United States. Most reported economic impact in the $30 to $72 million range, far less than in Flagstaff.
Another highlight is how the arts and sciences are a big draw for tourists, pumping more than $20.6 million into the local economy. The average tourist who came to Flagstaff to enjoy a arts or science event spent an average of $86 during their stay, versus $47 nationally.
It was a pleasure to be on the panel that discussed this important study. If you don’t feel like tackling the 36 page report, I highly recommend the one-page poster available on the art council’s website. It has a lot of great infographics presented in an engaging and – appropriately enough – artistically pleasing manner.