Nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the eight-county area pump $161.3 million into the economy each year and generate more than 4,800 jobs, according to a study released Thursday by Culture Works, a nonprofit arts agency.
The report is the first effort in nearly a quarter-century to examine the cultural sector’s role in the area’s economy, and the initial phase of a cultural planning process to help develop and sustain the area’s cultural life and institutions, said Martine Meredith Collier, Culture Works’ president and chief executive.
The last such study 22 years ago focused only on Montgomery County and resulted in the construction of the Schuster Performing Arts Center and the formation of Culture Works, the Miami Valley’s united arts fund.
University of Dayton and Wright State University researchers analyzed Internal Revenue Service and Ohio Cultural Data Project data about total expenditures and audience to determine the economic impact of 266 nonprofit cultural groups in Butler, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Warren counties.
Those groups include museums, visual arts, performance arts, cultural organizations including festivals and historical societies, nonprofit television and radio stations, film and video, and various arts support and advocacy organizations.
The report said there are 2,825 full-time equivalent jobs in the region tied directly to the groups’ expenditures, and another 2,034 full-time equivalent jobs linked to spending by their audiences.
The total 4,859 jobs account for $116.6 million in annual household income in the region.
The report estimated the total annual expenditures for the 266 arts groups at $85.4 million, and total audience and attendee spending at $75.9 million, for a combined economic impact of $161.3 million. The estimated audience attendance number was 2.9 million, the report said.
“The total impact from the organizations themselves and their audiences is pretty staggering,” Collier said. She called the report a “conservative analysis.”
The report suggests the Dayton region’s nonprofit cultural sector is strong, said Marc Goldring, an associate principal at arts and culture consulting firm WolfBrown in Boston. “The cultural sector in Dayton is considerably larger and more robust than I would expect in a community of the scale of Dayton,” he said.
Goldring said he has worked in a number of communities that have faced issues similar to Dayton’s, such as the departure of major employers, which has left them grasping for a new way to market themselves.
“It is a definite challenge, but clearly arts and culture plays a role in that new identity,” he said.
Goldring will assist the community cultural planning initiative, in collaboration with Richard Stock, director of the UD Business Research Group, and Jane Dockery, associate director of the Wright State Center for Urban & Public Affairs. Stock and Dockery worked with Culture Works to complete the economic impact study.
Collier said the study cost $12,000 and was funded by Morris Home Furnishings and the Miller-Valentine Group.
The cultural planning process will take 12 to 18 months to complete and cost $110,000, which includes the economic impact study funding. Additional funding for the cultural plan has been secured from the Dayton Foundation and the PNC Foundation, with other funding sources pending, she said.
Collier said the initiative will involve not just the arts organizations and artists, but members of the region’s business and education sectors, as well as concerned community members.
“There is a lot of interest in figuring out a way to strengthen the existing organizations, to build audiences, and to perhaps come up with a funding mechanism that addresses the loss of major corporate supporters and to regain that money from other sources,” Goldring said.
Cultural planning initiatives in Cleveland and Denver identified new revenue sources for arts and culture organizations in those regions, Collier said.
Another such plan in Chattanooga, Tenn., resulted in the successful launch of a comprehensive online calendar for arts and cultural events. “It has made a huge difference in audience engagement,” Goldring said.
Dayton’s plan will look toward the region’s next 10 years, and identify recommendations and action steps that will define the responsible parties, time lines and expected outcomes, Collier said.
In addition, the plan can help area government and arts officials establish priorities and allocate resources, rather than having arts and culture groups work at cross purposes.
“In times of scarce resources like this, that is not an efficient way to operate. We need to have a shared community vision and some shared priorities,” Collier said.
Economic impact of Dayton region cultural sector
|Jobs (fulltime equivalents)||Total expenditures||Household income||Local government revenue||State government revenue|
|Direct||2,825||$85.4 million||$71.6 million||$3.5 million||$4.1 million|
|Audiences||2,034||$75.9 million||$45.1 million||$3.8 million||$4.8 million|
|Total||4,859||$161.3 million||$116.6 million||$7.3 million||$8.9 million|
Source: Culture Works
See the names of 10 area arts and culture groups you may not know at MyDaytonDailyNews.com