State News

Study: Arts generate $1.2B economic impact in NC

Posted June 11, 2012
Updated June 12, 2012

— The nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $1.2 billion in direct economic activity in North Carolina, supporting more than 43,600 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $119 million in revenue for local governments and the State of North Carolina, Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle announced Monday.

The new study, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences in North Carolina, is part of a national study conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit arts organization for advancing the arts in America.

“This study shows that an investment in the arts is an investment in a growth industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is one of the cornerstones of tourism,” Carlisle said in a statement.

The study included both nonprofit organizations and other community groups that play a substantial role in the cultural life of the community, such as government-owned or -operated cultural facilities, like state historic sites and museums within the Department of Cultural Resources.

More than 47,500 creative for profit and nonprofit establishments contribute to $41.4 billion worth of products and services in North Carolina. Nonprofit organizations – representing 2 percent of the total creative industry – contribute 11 percent of the direct gross domestic product of the overall industry spending.

Other findings in the report include:

  • Spending by arts and culture organizations and their audiences supports the full-time equivalent of 43,605 jobs.
  • Audiences in 2010 spent more than $582.6 million in North Carolina, with each person spending an average of $23.37 in the community. This spending does not include the cost of admissions.
  • Arts and culture are also important to the state’s tourism industry. The study showed that 51.2 percent of all non-resident survey respondents reported that the primary reason for their trip was specifically to attend the arts/cultural event where they were surveyed.
  • About 46 percent of the residents responding to the survey reported that they would have traveled to a different community in order to attend a similar cultural experience, and 52 percent of non-resident cultural attendees reported the same.

“We all understand and appreciate the intrinsic values of the arts,” Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council, said in a statement. “This study shows that arts organizations are also businesses. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from within the community, are members of the chamber of commerce and local convention and visitor bureau’s and are key participants in marketing their cities and regions."


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