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Study Launched to Determine Economic Impact of Arts and Cultural Organizations within Greater Syracuse Area

Le Moyne College’s Division of Management will coordinate and spearhead a comprehensive study under auspices of national organization Americans for the Arts

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (For Immediate Release)… For the first time ever, arts and cultural organizations of all sizes within the greater Syracuse area will take part in an economic study to evaluate the impact spending by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and programs and their audiences have on the local economy. The study, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™, is being conducted through Americans for the Arts (AFA), America’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts.

In partnership with the Arts and Cultural Leadership Alliance of Central New York (ACLA) and the Cultural Resource Council of Syracuse and Onondaga County (CRC), Le Moyne’s Management Division will facilitate the gathering of detailed economic and event attendance data from nonprofit arts and culture organizations located throughout the region, using data from the Cultural Data Project. In addition, more than 100 Le Moyne students will conduct individual surveys from at least 800 attendees at arts and cultural event during 2011. Results of this comprehensive effort will be published in May 2012.

“The ultimate goal of this initiative is to quantify the economic impact and overall support of the arts from a business perspective,” said Dr. Ronald Wright, the Michael D. Madden Professor of Business Education at Le Moyne College. “Once the information is collected and compiled, there will be objective, accurate and quantifiable data that can be used for a variety of purposes to help support the need for continued investment in the arts and culture.”

This is the fourth time that AFA has conducted the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™ study, but it represents the first time the greater Syracuse area has participated. In 2005 – the last time the study was conducted – several other regions in New York participated, including the greater Buffalo and Rochester areas. In all, approximately 200 study partners across all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia are participating.

“This study could not come at a better time for this region,” said Carol Sweet, president of the steering committee for ACLA, which represents approximately 30 nonprofit groups in Central New York. “Arts and cultural activities are so important to the vitality of any region not only because of their economic impact, but also their contribution to the overall quality of life. This data will be useful in so many ways for ACLA and its members as they seek continued support from many different sources.”
“One potential result could be development of a master cultural plan for the region, similar to what has been done by other regions that have participated in this survey,” said Steve Butler, executive director of the CRC. “Such a plan is a powerful tool in making the case to private donors, foundations, and governmental and corporate entities about why arts and cultural activities are vital to the vibrancy of the community and also a strong driver of the local economy.”

Customized findings will demonstrate the impact of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences on the greater Syracuse economy. Specifically, the study’s results will include:
• The total dollars spent by nonprofit arts and culture organizations.
• The total dollars spent by audiences as a direct result of their attendance at arts and culture events.
• The number of full-time equivalent jobs supported by arts spending.
• The amount of resident, household income—including salaries and wages—generated by arts spending.
• The amount of local and state government tax revenues generated by arts spending.

According to the most recent Americans for the Arts study, the national nonprofit arts industry generated 5.7 million jobs and $166.2 billion in total economic activity during 2005, resulting in $29.6 billion in federal, state and local government revenues. The $166.2 billion total included $63.1 billion in spending by arts organizations and $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences on items such as meals, local transportation and overnight lodging. Complete details about the 2005 study are available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/EconomicImpact.
“Our Arts & Economic Prosperity studies demonstrate that the arts are a formidable industry that stimulates the economy in cities and towns across the country,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive. Still, much has changed since our last study as a result of the economic downturn. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV will allow us to evaluate the impact the recession has had on employment and government revenues that are generated by the nonprofit arts industry.”
Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study is supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. In addition, Americans for the Arts’ local and statewide project partners are contributing both time and financial support to the study.

About the participants

The Management Division of Le Moyne College is participating in this study as a part of two year investigation into the possible creation of a new academic center which would better support the Central New York non-profit community. That investigation is a funded through the Syracuse Campus Community Entrepreneurship Initiative and is being led by Dr. Wright and Dr. Renee Downey, assistant professor of business administration at Le Moyne.

The Arts and Culture Leadership Alliance of Central New York is a consortium for executive leaders of non-profit arts and culture agencies. These leaders meet each month to address current regional issues that involve the arts in economic development, social justice, community building, education, and arts advocacy.

The Cultural Resources Council of Syracuse and Onondaga County works to enhance the arts and cultural environment of the region through support and service to individual artists, grass root arts & cultural groups and established cultural institutions. Its mission is to provide services to individuals, organizations and the general public that ensure the vitality and diversity of culture in Central New York.

posted on: 2/4/2011