Study shows financial impact of nonprofit arts, culture

A recent study by the Northeast Florida Center for Community Initiatives at the University of North Florida found that in 2011, Jacksonville’s nonprofit arts and culture industry contributed more than $66 million to the local economy.
The research study measured the economic contributions of 22 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, which received funding from the City of Jacksonville’s Cultural Service Grant program (CSG). The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville commissioned the report.
The report summarizes data from cultural organizations representing music, dance, visual arts, theater, history, and arts education. For 2011, these groups reported total expenditures of over $33 million. Expenditures were reported primarily in the areas of personnel, rent, advertising and artistic fees. Using a multiplier developed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economic impact of the arts and culture industry was determined to be more than $66 million.
In 2011, nonprofit arts organizations in Jacksonville supported 238 full-time jobs, 339 part-time jobs, and 365 independent contract positions. Additionally, more than 11,654 community volunteers who donated 171,869 hours assisted the industry.
Organizations reported contributing more than $1.7 million in payroll, sales and property taxes. Surveyed organizations reported 739,688 admissions to cultural events with 50 percent offered at free and reduced rates.
“If jobs and expenditures were the sole measurements of our work, we would have a compelling story to tell,” said Robert Arleigh White, executive director of the Cultural Council. “But the importance of arts and culture are not fully measured in those terms. In fact, there is no challenge that faces our city – from education enhancement to crime mitigation, downtown revitalization, tourism and more – that doesn’t have a cultural component as a part of the answer. Our CSG partners entertainment, enjoyment and enrichment – and all for a per capita investment of $3.27.”
“We began compiling data on the nonprofit arts industry in 2001 when the reported economic impact of Cultural Service Grant recipients was $58 million,” said Jeffry Will, Ph.D., director of the Northeast Florida Center for Community Initiatives.  “Indeed, since 2001 CSG agencies have yielded an economic impact of over $710 million for Jacksonville. Through the years, the industry has supported thousands of jobs and attendance is robust, demonstrating that the arts serve as an essential local activity.  Clearly, the arts provide a strong return on the public dollar.”

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