The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut announced that the Greater Danbury nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $72.2 million in economic activity in 2022, according to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), an economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts. That economic activity — $30.2 million in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and $40.2 million in event-related spending by their audiences — supported 1,041 jobs and generated $16.5 million in local, state, and federal government revenue.
Spending by arts and culture audiences generates valuable commerce to local merchants, a value-add that few other industries can compete with. The full report for Western Connecticut can be found at www.cawct.org/aep-6/
Building on its 30-year legacy as the largest and most inclusive study of its kind, AEP6 uses a rigorous methodology to document the economic and social contributions of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. The study demonstrates that locally as well as nationally, arts and culture are a critical economic driver of vibrant communities.
“We’re not at all surprised by the results of the study,” said Lisa Scails director for the Cultural Alliance. “But it does reaffirm for those who need it that the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a vital contributor to our region’s economy and social wellbeing.”
Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6)study reveals that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $151.7 billion industry — one that supports 2.6 million jobs and generates $29.1 billion in government revenue.
“Arts and culture organizations have a powerful ability to attract and hold dollars in the community longer. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from nearby businesses, and produce the authentic cultural experiences that are magnets for visitors, tourists, and new residents,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “When we invest in nonprofit arts and culture, we strengthen our economy and build more livable communities.”
AEP6 represents a reset from its previous versions, establishing a new benchmark in the AEP study series.
- Social Impact: For the first time, AEP6 expanded beyond the economic and financial data to include social impact measurements of arts and culture’s effect on the well-being of communities and residents.
- Equity and Inclusion: AEP6 broke new ground by prioritizing equity, community engagement, and inclusivity. With the goal of reducing systemic bias, Americans for the Arts transformed its approach and expanded the inclusion and participation of organizations serving or representing BIPOC- (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA- (African, Latine, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying communities.
Nationally, the extensive research reveals proportional economic and community impacts among attendees at BIPOC and ALAANA organizations to the overall national average. These findings should initiate new, and escalate existing, critical funding conversations about BIPOC and ALAANA organizations receiving fair and proportional financial support.
Key figures from Western Connecticut’s AEP6 study include:
- Western Connecticut’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $40.2 million in event-related spending by its audiences.
- The typical attendee spends $32.23 per person per event, not including the cost of admission.
- 23.2% of arts and culture attendees were from outside the county in which the activity took place. They spent an average of $42.61 — all vital income for local merchants.
- 92.0% of nonlocal attendees reported that the primary purpose of their visit to Western Connecticut was “specifically to attend the performance, event, exhibit, venue, or facility”
- 73.5% of nonlocal attendees responded, “I would have traveled to a different community to attend a similar arts or cultural activity.”
- 59.1% of local attendees responded, “I would have traveled to a different community to attend a similar arts or cultural activity.”
By measuring arts and culture’s wide-ranging impact, public and private sector leaders can work together to secure funding and arts-friendly policies that shape more vibrant and equitable communities.
The full report, a map of the 373 study regions, and a two-page economic impact summary for each, can be found at AEP6.AmericansForTheArts.org.
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