The arts mean business. That is the message being delivered by The Doña Ana Arts Council, the City of Las Cruces Community Development Department, and the Las Cruces Museum System who have joined the Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5, a national study measuring the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences. The research study is being conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s nonprofit organization advancing the arts and arts education. It is the fifth study over the past 20 years to measure the impact of arts spending on local jobs, income paid to local residents, and revenue generated to local and state governments.
As one of nearly 300 study partners across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the Doña Ana Arts Council will collect detailed financial data about our local nonprofit arts and culture organizations throughout Las Cruces and Doña Ana County such as our theater and dance companies, museums, festivals, and arts education organizations. “Many people don’t think of nonprofit arts organizations as businesses,” said Scott Breckner, board president of the Doña Ana Arts Council and director of New Mexico State University Special Events, “but this study will make clear that the arts are a formidable industry in our community — employing people locally, purchasing goods and services from local merchants, and helping to drive tourism and economic development.”
The Doña Ana Arts Council, City of Las Cruces Community Development Department and Las Cruces Museum System will also collect surveys from attendees at arts events using a short, anonymous questionnaire that asks how much money they spent on items such as meals, parking, and transportation, and retail shopping specifically as a result of attending the event. Previous studies have shown that the average attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission. Those studies have also shown that, on average, 32 percent of arts attendees travel from outside the county in which the arts event took place, and that those cultural tourists typically spend nearly $40 per person — generating important revenue for local businesses and demonstrating how the arts drive revenue for other businesses in the community.
Surveys will be collected throughout calendar year 2016. The results of the study will be released in June of 2017.
“This study will show that when we support the arts in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County, we are making an investment in an industry, one that supports jobs and generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism,” said Kathleen Albers, executive director of the Doña Ana Arts Council.
According to Americans for the Arts’ most recent national study, the nonprofit arts industry generated $135.2 billion in total economic activity and supported 4.1 million full-time equivalent jobs during 2010, resulting in $22.3 billion in federal, state and local government revenues. The $135.2 billion total included $61.1 billion in spending by arts organizations and $74.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences on items such as meals, local transportation and overnight lodging. Complete details about the fiscal year 2010 study are available at AmericansForTheArts.org/EconomicImpact.
“Our Arts & Economic Prosperity series demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “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.”
Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study is supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. In addition, Americans for the Arts’ local and statewide study partners are contributing both time and a cost-sharing fee support to the study. For a full list of the nearly 300 Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study partners, visit AmericansForTheArts.org/AEP5Partners.
To find out more about the study that will be conducted in Doña Ana County and Las Cruces during calendar year 2016, visit the Doña Ana Arts Council’s website at DAArts.org or call 523-6403. The Doña Ana Arts Council offices are located on the second floor of the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main Street.