Lee County’s Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry Generates $140.1 million in Economic Activity and Supports 3,875 Jobs Annually, According to Americans for the Arts

June 17, 2017

Lee County’s Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry Generates $140.1 million in Economic Activity and Supports 3,875 Jobs Annually, According to Americans for the Arts
Arts Industry Returns $18.8 in Revenue to Local and State Coffers

The nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $140.1 million in annual economic activity in Lee County—supporting 3,875 full-time equivalent jobs, and generating $18.8 million in local and state government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study. Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education and is the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States.

According to the study, nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Lee County spent $34 million during fiscal year 2015. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated $89.3 million in household income for local residents and $18.8 in local and state government revenues.

“The arts provide a host of cultural and entertainment benefits.  They keep us connected through picture and movement, story and song.  They introduce our children to our history and the endless possibilities that lie ahead of them,” says Lydia Black, Executive Director of Alliance for the Arts. “What is less understood is their positive economic contributions. The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 sends a clear message: the arts are an investment that delivers both community well-being and economic vitality.”

As part of the Lee County study, the Alliance for the Arts created a pop out study for the nonprofit arts organizations residing within the city limits of Fort Myers.   Within the city limits of Fort Myers, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $49.7 million in annual economic activity —supporting 1,389 full-time equivalent jobs, and generating $6.7 million in local and state government revenue.

The Alliance for the Arts will formally announce the results of Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 on June 27 at 5:30 p.m. at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers 33919. The presentation will include a welcome from the Alliance for the Arts Board of Directors, brief remarks by city of Fort Myers Mayor Randall Henderson and Southwest Florida Community Foundation CEO Sarah Owen and conclude with a Lee County arts impact overview presentation by Lydia Black. Attendance is free, but a reservation is required.

Nationwide, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 reveals that the nonprofit arts industry produces $166.3 billion in economic activity every year, resulting in $27.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues. In addition, it supports 4.6 million full-time equivalent jobs.

“This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” says Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live. Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”

Arts Industry Boon for Local Businesses

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages $106.1 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, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. What’s more, attendees from out of town often stay overnight in a local hotel.  In Lee County, these dollars support 3,875 full-time equivalent jobs, and generating $18.8 in local and state government revenues.

“It’s essential for our area businesses to support the role the arts play in local communities and economic vitality. The arts are an integral component of workforce development and recruitment, enhance quality of life and foster beauty and creativity.  Businesses succeed and employee satisfaction rises when their communities are vibrant and full of life,” says Jeffrey Mudgett, Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study was conducted by Americans for the Arts in partnership with the Alliance for the Arts.   Nationally the study was supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study.

Local study funding partners include the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, City of Fort Myers and the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau.

This study could not have been completed without the cooperation of the 41 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Lee County that provided detailed financial and event attendance information about their organization:

Acoustic Music Society of Southwest Florida; Art Council of SWFL; ArtFest Fort Myers; Arts for Act Gallery; Arts in Healthcare Program; BIG Arts; Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW; Cape Coral Art League; Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs; Cultural Park Theater Company; JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; Edison and Ford Winter Estates; Edison Festival of Light; Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center; Florida Gulf Coast University Art Gallery; Florida Repertory Theatre; Fort Myers Community Concert Association; Fort Myers Symphonic Master Singers; SWFL American Sewing Guild; Ghostbird Theatre Company; Gulf Coast Symphony; Gulfshore Ballet; Imaginarium Science Center; Laboratory Theater of Florida; Lee County Alliance for The Arts; Mound House; Music For Minors Foundation; River District Alliance; Ronald McDonald House Charities Of Southwest Florida; Sanibel Music Festival; Shell Museum & Educational Foundation; Southwest Florida Historical Society; Southwest Florida Pastel Society; Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra; Southwest Florida Museum of History; Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida; Theatre Conspiracy; Uncommon Friends Foundation; Weavers of Char-Lee; WGCU Public Media; and Young Artists Awards.

The full text of the Lee County and City of Fort Myers reports can be found at www.ArtInLee.org/Impact.

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