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Mecklenburg Arts Organizations Drive $200m a Year

Charlotte SymphonyIn June, we highlighted a new study by the North Carolina Arts Council that found that 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.”

This morning, the Charlotte Observer reported the findings of a new economic study by Americans for the Arts, a national arts group, that focused specifically on Mecklenburg County. Their conclusion? “Mecklenburg County’s cultural groups and their audiences are the driving force behind more than $200 million a year.”

Not only that, but economic activity is up from five years ago:

  • Spending by Mecklenburg’s cultural organizations drove $101,177,294 in economic activity. That compares with $61,939,651 in the study five years ago.
  • Audiences’ spending on meals, drinks, souvenirs, parking and other things other than their admission to events generated $101,620,796. Five years earlier: $96,020,123.
  • The groups’ and audiences’ spending supported 6,240 jobs generating $144,567,000 in income. The previous study: 4,771 jobs generating $92,949,000.
  • The spending generated $8,367,000 in revenue to local governments and $9,766,000 to the state. The previous study: $6,881,000 to local government, $7,179,000 to the state.

Not only do arts organizations spend the majority of their money locally—which has a hugely positive impact on their community—they also attract a significant audience from outside counties. Folks attending events from outlying counties spend 43 percent more on average than those who live inside the county. And the majority of that income is then funneled back directly into the local community.

“That’s all local,” said Jonathan Martin, Executive Director of the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. “You’ve got local stagehands. The sound guy is local. The lighting folks are local.

“It’s quite the little cottage industry.”

Read the entire article here.