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The Arts mean Dollars and Sense

The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences in Hillsborough County, Florida

By: Mark Naugle

Read this editorial from today’s Tampa Tribune.  If you would like copies of the summary brochure, please pick them up at the Arts Council of Hillsborough County office at 1000 N. Ashley, Suite 105.

Arts payoff: a better community

The Tampa Tribune, Friday, August 7, 2009

It’s easy to forget the value of the arts, particularly during these austere times, when local governments must cut virtually every service.

But a comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry should help elected officials and citizens alike understand the arts contribute mightily to the local economy.

The national study was conducted in 116 cities and counties, including Hillsborough. It found that Hillsborough’s nonprofit arts industry in 2008:

· Generated nearly $300 million in economic activity and accounted for $192 million in household income;

· Was responsible for 8,377 full-time equivalent jobs;

· Raised $11.5 million in local tax revenues and $19 million in state revenue.

Art Keeble, executive director of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, says the study did not include privately owned galleries, design firms and other creative businesses that would have made those totals far higher.

Keeble points that in addition to the direct economic impact, nurturing a creative community is key to making a city the kind of place where people want to live and work, as author Richard Florida has stressed in “The Rise of the Creative Class.”

All this doesn’t mean arts should be spared government budget cuts. But the survey does provide a useful reminder that it is a mistake to view the arts as a trivial expense.

Whether it’s public or private dollars, supporting the arts is an investment in a better community and healthier economy.


You can download the Arts and Economic Prosperity report in PDF form by clicking on this link:

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