Feature Articles
 For more information about this article or gallery, please call the gallery phone number listed in the last line of the article, "For more info..."

June Issue 2004

Arts Industry 'Just the Ticket' for Economic Growth in NC

The North Carolina Arts Council in Raleigh, NC, announced on May 11, 2004, that nonprofit arts organizations in North Carolina generate the powerful economic impact of $723 million and nearly 7,000 full time jobs. Entitled "Just the Ticket," the report reveals that North Carolina's nonprofit arts industry adds up to be a large community asset, one that is "a viable vehicle for economic development for many North Carolina counties." Leading non-profit arts groups in the state average 13 full time jobs per organization, and can double that amount with part time and seasonal workers. Full time salaries generate an estimated $32 million in federal and state taxes. "While the arts feed the soul, they also help feed many North Carolina families," said NC Arts Council Executive Director Mary B. Regan. "The creative industry is a growth industry that is here to stay, and helps attract other business to our state."

More than one million North Carolinians - nearly one of every eight citizens - is an active arts supporter, member or volunteer. Arts participants are known to be involved citizens who are more inclined than the average person to vote and to help with community activities. As such, it is no surprise that an estimated 124,209 people volunteer at non-profit arts groups. North Carolina cultural volunteers donate between one day and two weeks annually - the equivalent of an additional 4,237 full-time employees. The Washington clearinghouse "Independent Sector" applies a standard $16.04 per hour to volunteer time, for a total of $131,034,421 worth of service.

The cumulative effects of North Carolina's 2,468 non-profit cultural institutions - that provide various arts events, festivals, concerts, and educational services - are "combining to powerful effect" say researchers Dr. Dinesh Dave and Dr. Michael Evans, professors at Appalachian State University's John A. Walker College of Business. Their figures identified a total direct economic impact of $394,675,913. Combined with a very conservative multiplier factor of 1.5 and the volunteer contribution, the not for profit economic impact estimate comes to $723,048,290. When arts workers in the commercial and educational sectors are added, it is estimated that total employment in the creative industry will approach 2% of all jobs in North Carolina, with revenues in the billions.

The major arts organizations in the state are comparable to small businesses, with an average annual income of around $1 million that lead an economic chain reaction in their communities. The arts generated $26 million in Watauga County, $60 million in Buncombe County, $67 million in Wake County, and $94 million in Mecklenburg County, based upon studies released in the past three years. A healthy part of the economic vitality documented in the local studies comes from cultural tourists, who typically stay longer, do more, and spend more than the average tourist. Leisure travel to and in North Carolina is on the rise. Notably, in July 2003, North Carolina was named a Top 10 state for cultural and heritage travel, according to the Travel Industry of America and Smithsonian magazine. Study authors Evans and Dave underscore the findings of the Smithsonian report when they suggest that it "makes economic sense for local, city, and county policy makers to fund arts groups that attract visitors and high spending tourists to an area, particularly as North Carolina continues to see growth in the travel industry, and particularly growth in the cultural segment of travel." The ASU study was funded by the NC Arts Council.

The mission of the NC Arts Council, which celebrates those who create and enjoy art in all 100 counties, is to enrich the cultural life of the state. The Arts Council nurtures and supports excellence in the arts, and provides opportunities for every North Carolinian to experience the arts. A division of the NC Department of Cultural Resources, the Arts Council further serves as a catalyst for the development of arts organizations and facilities throughout the state as it makes grants and offers technical assistance.

Further information about the economic impact study can be found at the Arts Council's website at (www.ncarts.org/who_facts_new.cfm).

For further info contact the NC Arts Council at 919/733-2822 or at (www.ncarts.org).

[ | June'04 | Feature Articles | Gallery Listings | Home | ]

Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc. Copyright© 2004 by PSMG, Inc., which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - Dec. 1994 and South Carolina Arts from Jan. 1995 - Dec. 1996. It also publishes Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 2004 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited. Carolina Arts is available throughout North & South Carolina.