National study: Local arts and culture had $189.5 million impact in 2022 in Alachua County

Press release from Alachua County

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – Alachua County’s arts and culture scene isn’t just about creative expression—it’s a major economic force, as revealed by the Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 study. The study, conducted in partnership with Americans for the Arts, sheds light on the profound economic and social value the arts bring to residents and visitors. The national study covered 353 regions, including Alachua County, where arts and culture organizations completed nearly 1,000 audience surveys and 52 organizational surveys.

In 2022, Alachua County’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their 2.4 million audience members generated $189.5 million in economic activity. Out of this total, $49.6 million was spent by the organizations, and an additional $139.9 million was spent by their audiences. This spending caused a ripple effect, supporting 2,992 jobs and generating $33.1 million in tax revenue. The significance of these cultural experiences is evident, with over 86% of respondents considering the activity or venue a source of neighborhood pride and 83.8% expressing a sense of loss if these cultural elements were no longer available.

“Alachua County is proud to partner with Americans for the Arts on the Arts and Economic Prosperity Study. The study confirms that arts and culture in our community create tremendous economic and social value for our residents and visitors. What’s striking is that 57% of cultural event attendees in Alachua County are non-local visitors,” said Tourism Director Jessica Hurov. “These visitors spent an average of $76, providing crucial income for local businesses.”

Alachua County Commissioner and Tourist Development Council Chair Marihelen Wheeler said, “This study illustrates the far-reaching impact of arts and culture. The economics are impressive. More impressive is building vibrant, inclusive communities where the arts play a central role in shaping a better future.”

“Arts and culture organizations have a powerful ability to attract and hold dollars in the community longer. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from nearby businesses, and produce the authentic cultural experiences that are magnets for visitors, tourists, and new residents,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “When we invest in nonprofit arts and culture, we strengthen our economy and build more livable communities.”

Nationally, the study paints a broader picture of the arts and culture sector as a $151.7 billion industry, supporting 2.6 million jobs and contributing $29.1 billion in government revenue. This perspective shifts the narrative around nonprofit arts and culture organizations as charities to vital economic contributors, creating jobs, stimulating local businesses, and fostering authentic cultural experiences that draw in visitors and new residents.

The Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 study redefined past study benchmarks by emphasizing arts and culture’s social impact as well as equity and inclusion and systemic bias and engaging communities identifying as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and ALAANA (African, Latine, Asian, Arab, and Native American) organizations.

The full report, a map of the study regions, and a two-page economic impact summary for each area can be found at AEP6.AmericansForTheArts.org.

  • So why did the city eliminate Peaceful Sunday gatherings? It brought in lots of out of town visitors who spent hundreds of dollars buying local goods and services.

    • Better question is why did the city need to skim from GRU to make ends meet?

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