A Return On Your Investment in the Arts

Categories: ASC, ASC Projects, Blog

By Robert Bush, Senior Vice-President, Cultural & Community Investment

Here at ASC, we often talk about how donors’ gifts combined with local government investments make art, science and history programs and projects available across Charlotte-Mecklenburg.   This is true.  The support of our donors ensures performances, exhibitions and educational programs happen every day in Mecklenburg County.  But your investment has another big return – one that impacts our local economy far beyond what you might think.

Robert Bush

The local nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $203 million in annual economic activity in Charlotte-Mecklenburg supporting 6,240 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $18.1 in local and state government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV national economic impact study.

According to the study, nonprofit local arts and culture organizations spent $101,177,294 during fiscal year 2010. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated $91,889,000 in household income for local residents and $18.1 million in local and state government revenues.

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages $101,620,796 in event-related spending by its audiences. As a result of attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. What’s more, attendees from out of town often stay overnight in a local hotel.  In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, these dollars support 2,921 full-time equivalent jobs and generate $10,337,000 in local and state government revenues.

Sight Unseen at Midtown Park

Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study reveals that the nonprofit arts industry produced $135.2 billion in economic activity during 2010. This spending—$61.1 billion by nonprofit arts and culture organizations plus an additional $74.1 billion by their audiences—supported 4.1 million full-time equivalent jobs and generated $22.3 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.

These are all great numbers, and without the leadership of ASC team members Ryan Deal, Nicole Bartlett and Kris Steele, we would never have completed this effort.  They reminded and nudged, coordinated hundreds of audience intercept surveys and made certain that every local cultural group had the opportunity to participate.  They each deserve a round of applause!

The Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. The full text of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg statistical report is available here.