The arts infuse cash as well as culture into St. Louis region
The arts pumped more than $582 million into the St. Louis region in 2010 -- a nearly 4 percent increase over 2007 -- even as a continued recession ate up profits and jobs in numerous other arenas.
That’s according to a new study by St. Louis’ Regional Arts Commission (RAC) and Americans for the Arts, funded by Wells Fargo Advisors. The good local news stands in sharp contrast to the national picture, in which the arts’ economic impact fell 3 percent.
The study also reported that local jobs in the arts increased by 14 percent to more than 10,000. RAC executive director Jill McGuire pointed out that the news is particularly significant given today’s economy.
“What’s important about these results is that, during a time of economic downturn, the arts produced more jobs and had greater growth than they did five years ago,” McGuire said.
The study is based on the responses of 1,736 people who attended arts and cultural events in the St. Louis area, and from information from 137 nonprofit organizations.
The $582 million figure is made up of $313 million spent by nonprofit art organizations in St. Louis city and county, and $269 million spent by audience members in addition to their admissions costs.
The average arts patron spent $23.76 in 2010 on items including food, beverages, souvenirs, transportation and overnight accommodations. Not surprisingly, out-of-towners spent more than local arts patrons.
Tourists and St. Louisans made 11.3 million visits to arts events, a number larger than the combined audiences for the Cardinals, Blues and Rams, according to RAC.
The bottom line? “The arts really are an economic engine for our region,” McGuire said.
More information form the report can be found at http://www.art-stl.com/eis/.