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Sunday, 16 March 2008 23:00

Tampa Bay Art Industry Brings Over Half Million Annually to the Tampa Bay Area

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What Brings $521,300,000 to Tampa Bay?

Tampa Bay FL, March 2008 - Tourism…the Port…Phosphate…Citrus…Construction…These are some of the industries that come to mind when we think about the ones that contribute significantly to our local economy. It is time to add a new industry to that list, an industry that brings over $521.3 million annually to our region. Not only does this industry pump a significant amount of money into our local economy, it provides a diversity of benefits to add to the quality of life in Tampa Bay.

This major industry is THE ARTS. The Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts, Inc. (“TBBCA”) recently announced the results of a professional study of the economic impact of the arts in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. This is the first measure of arts impact on the two counties since the original joint study conducted in 1999. The report was sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and conducted by the PwC Sports, Convention and Leisure Practice.

The findings were presented to government and business leaders and the press on January 31st at Tampa International Airport. Representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers, including partner David Zimmerman, Rob Canton (Project Director) and Nilgun Kamp (Project Manager), presented the details of the study results. Executive directors of the region’s arts and cultural institutions, as well as representatives of local government were present to respond to the findings.

The study quantified the arts as an industry and determined that they are certainly not a drain on the economy; they are in fact a key component of economic development. The arts are clearly a major contributor to the economic and social health of the entire region. Key findings include the fact that not only do the arts have an economic impact of $521.3 million annually; they also provide 7,800 jobs and $147 million in payroll. In terms of attendance, the study found that 5.6 million visits were made to non-profit arts and cultural institutions in a single year. To put this number in perspective, for the same year, the attendance figure for the area’s sports events (including the Buccaneers, Devil Rays, Lightning, Mutiny, USF Football and Basketball, and the Outback Bowl) is 3.3 million! The Super Bowl Task Force predicted an economic impact of the Super Bowl at $250 million. Experts have debated whether the true impact was that high. Yet there is a more important thing to note. The arts have a much greater impact on the economy EVERY year, not just one of the rare years that a big football game is played here.

Ninety-two arts and cultural institutions participated in the study, up from the sixty-seven, which completed surveys or the 1999 study. The earlier study found an economic impact of $402.2 million — so the impact of the arts has definitely grown tremendously during the last few years. The multipliers used in the most recent study are much more conservative, which makes the results of this study even more impressive. What do the results of this economic impact study mean? Money invested in the arts does not merely provide cultural enrichment, increased SAT scores, and the myriad of other benefits typically associated with arts and culture. Now it has been systematically proven that the arts have a tremendous, quantifiable, economic benefit for the community. Money is not given to the arts; money is invested in the arts, an investment that yields valuable dividends in terms of economic growth and development to the region.

The arts reach millions of people and profoundly impact our local economy. They attract conventions and relocating companies to our area, as well as a talented workforce and tourists. It may seem crass to put a monetary value on an industry that enriches our lives in so many ways that cannot be measured by dollars and cents. Yet the arts have now been proven to be an engine for economic growth and development, and we must now view the arts as a vital agent for economic progress. – Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts


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