ACLA Economic Study

Greater Syracuse “Arts and Economic Prosperity” Survey Illustrates
Wide-ranging Impact of Arts on Regional Economy

Survey includes data collected from nearly 50 arts and cultural organizations

August 1, 2012

SYRACUSE, N.Y. The direct economic impact of the arts and cultural organizations in the greater Syracuse area is nearly $134 million annually, according to a recent survey conducted as part of the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV, a project of the national organization Americans for the Arts.

According to the survey, this impact – broken down to $33.9 million by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and an additional $99.5 million in event-related spending by their audiences – supports 5,117 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $110.4 million in household income to local residents, and delivers $20.1 million in local and state government revenue to the greater Syracuse area.

“Through this community effort, we have, for the first time, a realistic picture of the economic impact the arts have on our community and a picture of the potential the arts could play in a vibrant greater Syracuse economy,” said Dr. Ronald Wright, Le Moyne College’s Michael Madden Professor of Business Education.

Le Moyne College was a major financial underwriter of the survey, and more than 50 Le Moyne students conducted audience surveys at numerous events during 2011. In addition, representatives from the Cultural Resources Council and the Arts and Culture Leadership Alliance of Central New York helped to identify and encourage the involvement of over 140 non-profit arts and culture organizations in the greater Syracuse area. The organizations that agreed to participate filed extensive reports including detailed organizational revenue, expenditures, and audience participation.

Highlights of the detailed 30-page report include:

• During 2010, a total of 3,517 volunteers donated a total of 157,562 hours to greater Syracuse area’s participating nonprofit arts and culture organizations. This represents a donation of time with an estimated aggregate value of more than $3.3 million.

• The 45 nonprofit arts and culture organizations that participated in the greater Syracuse area reported that they received in-kind contributions (i.e. office supplies, rent, printing services, etc.) with an aggregate value of $2.8 million during fiscal year 2010.

• According to data collected using audience-intercept methodology from 841 event attendees during 2011, arts attendees in Syracuse spent an average of $25.93 per person, per event as a direct result of their attendance to the event. This spending includes dining out, hotel accomodations, shopping, parking, and babysitting expenses.

• Researchers estimate that 73.2 percent of the 3.8 million nonprofit arts attendees were Onondaga County residents; 26.8 percent lived outside Onondaga County. Non-resident attendees spend an average of 73 percent more per person than local attendees ($37.57 vs. $21.66) as a result of their attendance to cultural events.

The greater Syracuse area fared well in comparison to the national median for data collected from other similar-sized metropolitan areas. For example, per $100,000 of direct spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations, 5.32 full-time equivalent jobs were created in the greater Syracuse area, compared to the national media of 3.46 FTEs. Local government revenue per $100,000 of direct spending was $7,901 in Syracuse; the national median was $3,819. Overall attendance during 2010 in greater Syracuse was 3,836,917 (or 8.38 per capita) versus 1,848,689 (5.9 per capita.)

One area where Syracuse was below the national median was overall organizational spending by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations – $33.9 million for Syracuse vs. $54.5 million for similar-sized regions.

Established in 1960, Americans for the Arts is a nonprofit organization dedicate to advancing the arts in America. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV is the organization’s fourth study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry’s impact on the economy. This is the first time that Syracuse participated in the survey.

The most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted, “Arts & Economic Prosperity IV” features customized findings for 182 study regions representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as estimates of economic impact nationally. Nationally, the industry generated $135.2 billion dollars of economic activity – $61.1 billion by the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations in addition to $74.1 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences. This economic activity supports 4.1 million full-time jobs. The industry also generates $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments every year – a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations.

“Arts & Economic Prosperity IV” uses a sophisticated economic analysis called input-output analysis to measure economic impact. It is a system of mathematical equations that combines statistical methods and economic theory.

Click here for the full report: