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US Conference of Mayors Highlights Arts and Economic Prosperity Study

This past week the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) annual meeting took place in Orlando, FL. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was there endorsing resolutions to use LED streetlights as well as addressing child trafficking. At this same event, member mayors passed a number of important resolutions related to the arts. In the area of Arts Education the mayors urged school districts and administrator to maximize the use of available funds to deliver high-quality arts instruction and to integrate the arts with other core subjects. The month of October 2012 was designated as National Arts and Humanities Month, and local businesses and arts organizations were encouraged to collaborate more together. Support of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Office of Museum Services was reaffirmed and a call was made to Congress to fund these agencies at a level closer to the President’s budget request – all great and good stuff. 

An important resolution that hits closer to home is one acknowledging the recent Arts and Economic Prosperity study (the fourth one) completed by Americans for the Arts. This study finds that the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $135.2 billion (yes, with a B!) in economic activity annually—$61.1 billion in spending by arts and culture organizations and an additional $74.1 billion in event-related spending by arts audiences. This supports 4.1 million jobs across the nation in cities large and small, and returns billions in federal income taxes, and state and local government revenue.

The Americans for the Arts study also included a Seattle-specific set of results that indicate that nonprofit arts and culture generate $447.6 million annually at the local level. $38.2 million is returned in state and local revenue, and the work of these organizations supports over 10,800 full-time equivalent jobs. As Mayor McGinn said, “Our city should be proud to have such a vibrant arts scene that plays a great role in our local economy.” More details of the study can be found here.

Based on the conclusions of the Arts and Economic Prosperity IV study, USCM urges mayors across the country to invest in nonprofit arts organizations through their local arts agencies as a catalyst to generate economic impact, stimulate business development, spur urban renewal, attract tourists and area residents to community activities, and to improve the overall quality of life in America’s cities. Yes! We do too!

Meanwhile, we’d like to thank the U.S. Conference of Mayors for their support of arts and cultural in general, and specifically for calling attention to this important and relevant study.