Study: Durham’s Arts and Culture Industry Generates $154 Million in Economic Activity a Year | Arts

Study: Durham’s Arts and Culture Industry Generates $154 Million in Economic Activity a Year

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Durham County's nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $154 million in annual economic activity, according to a new study administered by the Durham Arts Council.

The Americans for the Arts economic impact study was conducted in 341 communities nationwide and looked at spending by nonprofit arts organizations and art consumers. Nationally, nonprofit arts and culture is a $166 billion industry. Statewide, the total is $2.12 billion, meaning Durham accounts for about 7 percent of North Carolina's nonprofit arts industry.

Sixty-nine local organizations and 824 audience members were surveyed to figure the local numbers. According to the study, Durham organizations spent about $104 million, including salaries, supplies, and contracts. Audiences spent about $49 million. Admission was excluded from audience spending because it typically goes into an organization's operating budget. About 56 percent of arts and culture event attendees were Durham residents.

"Durham is the envy of many cities in North Carolina, but beyond North Carolina, in the country," said N.C. Arts Council executive director Wayne Martin. “A lot of that draw, in my opinion, is because you have retained a distinct cultural character.”

According to the study, the industry supports 5,722 jobs, pays $132.5 million in household income to residents, and generates about $13 million in revenue for the state and local governments. A previous study, which looked at fiscal year 2010, totaled the industry at about $125 million.

“This study puts to rest a misconception that communities support arts and culture at the expense of local economic development,” the report reads. “In fact, communities that support the arts and culture are investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue and is the cornerstone of tourism.”

Martin said when the N.C. Arts Council started in 1967, there were 250 arts nonprofits statewide. Today there are about 2,500, including 102 in Durham.


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