State of the Arts: City to Take Part in Americans for the Arts's National Economic Impact Study

On the other side is a release that just arrived from City Hall announcing the Office of Cultural Affairs and Dallas Arts District's decision to take part in D.C.-based nonprofit Americans for the Arts's economic-impact study. The city didn't take part in the '05 study, the most recent conducted, which means that for the first time, really, the city will take a long, hard look at the amount City Hall spends on nonprofit arts and culture organizations, how much audiences dole out, and how many jobs and how much tax revenue the groups generate.

Dallas will be one of 200 "study partners" involved in the study, which will allow the city to "measure not only how the arts impact our local community, but also how well we leverage our cultural assets as compared with other communities nationwide," says Arts District exec director Veletta Lill in the release.

Americans for the Arts's website says the study actually began on January 1 and is expected to wrap by year's end, with the report due for release in May 2012. David Denson in the Office of Cultural Affairs tells Unfair Park this morning it's costing the local groups a combined $8,700 to participate in the study. The Arts District is paying $1,500, Lill told me this morning, with the Office of Cultural Affairs and the Office of Economic Development picking up the rest of the tab. And why Economic Development?

"We would hope this would allow Economic Development several opportunities if they're going to invest in the future in such things as artist housing or recruitment of businesses," she says. "This helps them in their efforts."

Though the study won't be out for more than a year, in a matter of weeks arts-attending audiences will become aware of the survey in a matter of weeks: Lill says this morning that the city will have to gather some 1,200 surveys from audiences at various venues around town, and AT&T Performing Arts Center attendees will be handed theirs beginning in February.

"And we'll balance between large events, like an opera, and things like Art in October, late nights at the museums and smaller venues to get a broad spectrum of attendees," says the former council member. "This allows us to have data to present to folks who may be investing in the area and the arts."

The City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and Dallas Arts District

Join Americans for the Arts' National Economic Impact Study

Study Measures Spending by Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences

Dallas, TX (January 26, 2011) - The City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Dallas Arts District today announced they have joined Arts & Economic Prosperity IVTM. The research study, which is being conducted by Americans for the Arts, America's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts, will evaluate the impact spending by nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences have on their local economies.

As one of 200 study partners across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs/the Dallas Arts District will facilitate the gathering of detailed economic and event attendance data from nonprofit arts and culture organizations located throughout the City of Dallas, including focus on the Arts District.

"Our participation in the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study will allow us to measure how the arts and culture sector in the city of Dallas contributes to our community's economic health," said María Muñoz-Blanco, Dallas' Director of Cultural Affairs. "The research process will involve organizations and audiences throughout our city, and we expect that the findings will demonstrate that the arts are a significant driver of economic growth in our community."

Customized findings for the City of Dallas will demonstrate the impact of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences on the economy. Specifically, the study's results will include:

* The total dollars spent by the City of Dallas's nonprofit arts and culture organizations.
* The total dollars spent by audiences as a direct result of their attendance at arts and culture events in the City of Dallas.
* The number of full-time equivalent jobs supported by arts spending.
* The amount of resident, household income-including salaries and wages-generated by arts spending.
* The amount of local and state government tax revenues generated by arts spending.

"Dallas elected and civic leaders recognize the tremendous value that the arts bring to our community and utilize the arts to promote Dallas to its citizens as well as tourists from around the world," said Veletta Forsythe Lill, Executive Director of the Dallas Arts District. "The Arts & Economic Prosperity study by Americans for the Arts is a tremendous opportunity to measure not only how the arts impact our local community, but also how well we leverage our cultural assets as compared with other communities nationwide."

According to Americans for the Arts most recent national study, the national nonprofit arts industry generated 5.7 million jobs and $166.2 billion in total economic activity during 2005, resulting in $29.6 billion in federal, state and local government revenues. The $166.2 billion total included $63.1 billion in spending by arts organizations and $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences on items such as meals, local transportation and overnight lodging. Complete details about the 2005 study are available at

"Our Arts & Economic Prosperity studies demonstrate that the arts are a formidable industry that stimulates the economy in cities and towns across the country," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive. Still, much has changed since our last study as a result of the economic downturn. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV will allow us to evaluate the impact the recession has had on employment and government revenues that are generated by the nonprofit arts industry."

Americans for the Arts' Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study is supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. In addition, Americans for the Arts' local and statewide project partners are contributing both time and financial support to the study.