Arts industry brings big economic impact to several areas in Virginia
The nonprofit arts and culture industry in Fairfax County generates more than $271 million in annual economic activity, supporting 6,220 full-time equivalent jobs, according to a national impact study.
Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, conducted The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, which it described as the “most comprehensive” study of the arts ever done in the U.S.
Results show that Fairfax’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent about $173 million during fiscal year 2015. The spending went to pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community.
Those dollars generated more than $124 million in household income for local residents and over $19 million in local and state government revenues.
“This comprehensive, year-long study demonstrates the impressive economic impact of the arts in Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church,” Linda S. Sullivan, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax County, said in a statement. “Not only do the arts enhance our community’s quality of life, they generate millions in revenue for local businesses and government, and as the arts and culture organizations in Fairfax County grow, other industries in the county benefit from this growth.”
The figures were even higher for the greater Richmond and Tri-Cities region. In 2015, the study said the industry generated $360 million in total expenditures and $31.5 million in local and state taxes, while supporting 10,702 full-time jobs.
In the Charlottesville area, total expenditures reached $121.8 million, supporting 2,131 jobs, and in Virginia Beach, the arts sparked $87.7 million in total expenditures, funding 2,875 jobs.
Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said the study shows that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live,” he said in a statement.
In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages over $98 million 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 and buy gifts and souvenirs.
Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study, and it also was supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts.
The study collected data from 341 participating study regions including 113 cities, 115 counties, 81 multicounty or multicity regions, 20 states, and 12 cultural districts (representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia). The communities ranged in population from 1,500 to 4 million and from small rural to large urban.