American for the Arts Economic Impact Study

The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission today announced it has joined Arts & Economic Prosperity IV™. The research study, which is being conducted by Americans for the Arts, America’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts, will evaluate the impact spending by nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences have on their local economies. As one of 200 study partners across all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, the Arts Commission will facilitate the gathering of detailed economic and event attendance data from nonprofit arts and culture organizations located throughout Santa Barbara County. In addition, the Arts Commission will collaborate with the community’s other arts organizations to collect surveys from at least 800 arts and culture attendees throughout Santa Barbara County during 2011. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV (AEP4) will allow us to evaluate the impact of the recession on the employment and government revenues that are generated by the nonprofit arts industry. We expect that the findings will demonstrate that the arts remain a formidable industry in spite of our country’s recent economic challenges.

Customized findings for Santa Barbara County will demonstrate the impact of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences on the economy. Specifically, the study’s results will include:

The total dollars spent by Santa Barbara County’s numerous and diverse nonprofit arts and culture organizations.

The total dollars spent by audiences as a direct result of their attendance at arts and culture events in the County.

The number of full-time equivalent jobs supported by arts spending.

The amount of local and state government tax revenues generated by arts spending.

The amount of resident, household income—including salaries and wages—generated by arts spending.

“We are relying on our non-profit cultural arts sector to engage their communities in this vital collection of data and are very grateful to have the support of the City of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Conference and Visitor’s Bureau & Film Commission, Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau, the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization and the UC Institute for Research in the Arts in our participation in this vital National Survey,” states Ginny Brush, Executive Director of the County Arts Commission.

According to Americans for the Arts most recent national study, the national nonprofit arts industry generated 5.7 million jobs and $166.2 billion in total economic activity during 2005, resulting in $29.6 billion in federal, state, and local government revenues. The $166.2 billion total included $63.1 billion in spending by arts organizations and $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences on items such as meals, local transportation and overnight lodging. Complete details about the 2005 study are available at

The Arts & Economic Prosperity III Study released in 2007 provided compelling evidence that the nonprofit arts and culture in Santa Barbara County was a $77.6 million industry—one that supported 2,288 full-time equivalent jobs and generated $7.62 million in local and state government revenue. The study demonstrated that nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, spend approximately $36.2 million each year and leverage a remarkable $41.4 million in additional spending by arts and cultural audiences.—-spending that pumps vital revenue into local restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages, and other local businesses.

“Our Arts & Economic Prosperity studies demonstrate that the arts are a formidable industry that stimulates the economy in cities and towns across the country,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive. Still, much has changed since our last study as a result of the economic downturn. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV will allow us to evaluate the impact the recession has had on employment and government revenues that are generated by the nonprofit arts industry.”

Note: Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study is supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. In addition, Americans for the Arts’ local and statewide project partners are contributing both time and financial support to the study.

Formed in 1977, the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission serves as a regional arts agency in partnership with the California Arts Council and has a 26 year-old partnership with the City of Santa Barbara to provide its public and cultural arts services. For further information:


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