What is society without art? On one very basic level, for 4.1 million Americans, no art means no work. For American businesses and government, it means that $22.3 billion in national revenue dissolves. These figures (from the Americans for the Arts 2012 national study of the Economic Impact of Arts & Cultural Organizations) remind us of how much power the arts have on a region’s economic and cultural legacy. The arts are not a luxury; THE ARTS MEAN BUSINESS.
On Thursday, October 4th, 2012, I attended the Forum on ARTS & Economic Prosperity IV (organized by the Santa Barbara Arts Commission) at the historic Lobero Theater in downtown Santa Barbara to further examine the results of ARTS & Economic Prosperity IV study. This study (sponsored in part by the UC Institute for Research in the Arts) surveys 182 diverse regions from all 50 states and D.C. and is perhaps the most comprehensive investigation of the nonprofit arts and culture ever conducted.
Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider kicked off the forum with a Proclamation for Arts & Humanities Month in Santa Barbara (October being National Arts & Humanities Month). Randy Cohen (VP for Research + Policy for the Americans for the Arts) followed with an inspirational keynote that emphasized the critical power the arts have in a sustaining a thriving economic community. On a local scale, the arts in Santa Barbara County generate over $124 million in direct expenditures in the community and provide 3,587 full-time jobs (almost as many jobs as the entire county of Santa Barbara provides and twice as many as the SB School District).
Diverse artistic and cultural events bring people in from various areas and encourage them to stay longer which results in more out-of-the-region dollars to be spent locally (32% of average audience members are from out-of-town and they spend more than twice the amount of event-related spending than their local counterparts). Kathy Janega-Dykes, President and CEO for the Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission, presented supporting facts that re-emphasized how important the arts are to leveraging significant spending behavior both locally and nationwide.
The Americans for the Arts study is perfectly timed with the release of the results of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) 2011 UC survey. The UC Institute for Research in the Arts oversaw survey participation of all the UC Campuses with degree-granting programs in the arts. The research that comes from this survey provides the first national data on how those with both undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in all arts disciplines develop post-graduation careers. With the exorbitant out-of-state UC tuition (2012-2013 average out-of-state tuition is $55,578), it may come as no surprise that 97.4% of UC students are in-state. After graduation, 75% of them stay in California and most work in arts industries. Our arts grads provide unique skill sets that contribute to the rebuilding of a broken economy and the UC must continually adapt to be able to provide our students with the education and training they need to succeed. As the only system-wide arts research unit, the UCIRA is devoting considerable effort to communicate the data from the SNAAP survey to a wider public and to integrate the outcomes of this survey into improved arts curriculum and administration.
For more information on these studies, please visit the following links:
Santa Barbara County Final Report:
- SB County Final Report (24 pages)
- 2-Page Summary of SB County Final Report
- SB County Brochure Insert
Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP):
Written by ZouZou Chapman
UCIRA Program Coordinator