A new study concludes that non-profit arts ventures in Walnut Creek generate $32.5 million annually, create 865 jobs and deliver nearly $3 million in local and state revenues.
The study, conducted by the national group Americans for the Arts, is called Arts and Economic Prosperity IV. It examined the economic impacts of the arts on 139 cities, 31 regions and 10 states.
The study concluded that Walnut Creek arts activities generate substantially more money than similarly sized cities. According to the study, in 2010 Walnut Creek arts generated $32.5 million in spending, both by the arts community and audiences. Cities of similar size (between 50,000 and 99,000 population) on average generated $10.9 million. The nation overall generated an average of $49 million.
“The City of Walnut Creek’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations provide rewarding employment for more than just administrators, artists, curators, choreographers, and musicians,” the report states. “They also employ financial staff, facility managers, and salespeople. In addition, the spending by these organizations directly supports a wide array of other occupations spanning many industries (e.g., printing, event planning, legal, construction, and accounting).”
The study uses what it calls a “sophisticated analysis” called input-output analysis to arrive at its fiscal conclusions. For instance, under the model, if a theater group purchases a gallon of paint from a local paint store for $200 (an expensive gallon of paint, to be sure), the paint store uses a portion of that purchase to pay the sales clerk, who then spends much of it at a grocery store. The grocery store uses some of that to pay its own clerks, etc.
“This economic impact study sends a strong signal that when we support the arts, we not only enhance our quality of life, but we also invest in the City of Walnut Creek’s economic well-being,” the report concludes.
For the city's part, it raises 75 percent of its Arts, Recreation and Community Services budget from ticket sales. The program includes senior programs and recreation activities as well. The city has budgeted $26 million for the ARCS program for the 2012-2014 budget, $6.6 million of which comes from taxes. The remaining $19.6 million comes from ticket sales, class fees, rentals and sponsorships, said communication manager Gayle Vassar.
The following chart was taken from the study to illustrate the economic effect of the non-profit arts and cultural community on the city.
TOTAL Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry in the City of Walnut Creek
(Spending by Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences)
Median of Similar Study Regions
50,000 to 99,000