The study, called Arts and Economic Prosperity IV, measured the economic impact the arts industry had in Phoenix.
The arts industry received less grant money this fiscal year, down to $150,000, which could be one of the reasons their impact has decreased. But the greatest factor was the difference in organization spending and audience spending, said Dr. Dwight Walth, director of grants services and community initiatives.
“The cost of labor and materials for the arts have increased, but the revenue has not,” Walth said.
During the recession, families began having “stay-cations” in their own areas instead of traveling farther to see shows in Phoenix, Walth said.
The industry, which relies heavily on non-local attendees, suffered when fewer people visited Phoenix.
Aside from fewer people coming to Phoenix, the amount of money the average person spends at an art event decreased, Walth said.
The arts’ overall economic impact in Phoenix has decreased from $361 million in 2005 to $301 million. The data was last collected in 2010. While the economic impact is not what it once was, the arts are still a vital aspect in the Phoenix economy, Walth said.
The arts industry has created roughly 10,000 jobs since 2010. These include professions in museums and theaters as well as other locations affected by audience spending such as restaurants and gas stations.
That arts industry also contributes “induced spending,” including patrons purchasing gas, eating out or shopping.
The next fiscal year will begin at the end of July, and the City Council has decided to supply the Arts Commission with $525,000 to present in grants to worthy causes.
“The Arts Commissions can start giving to schools again, which is such a relief,” said Nancy Smith, director and owner of the Great Arizona Puppet Theater. “Less fortunate schools can’t even afford buses to come to our show, much less the tickets on top of that.”
Smith and the Theater perform puppet shows with positive and informative lessons for both children and adults.
Walth said this will also allow them to grant money to support arts education in schools.
In order for the Arts Commission to receive the grants, they had to prove that they are a “good investment,” Walth said.
“We know that arts and culture are important components of creating a community that attracts the best and the brightest,” Mayor Greg Stanton said. “Attracting and keeping talent is vital for economic development and affects everyone in our community. Arts and culture are equally important for creating a community that enriches the lives of our residents.”
The Arts and Culture Commission will release another study in September that compares the economic impact of the arts industry to other industries in hopes to receive even more money in the years to come.
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