A recent study by Americans for the Arts indicates that the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a significant industry in Westchester County. According to the study, the arts generate $172.3 million in total economic activity. In addition, it delivers $25.8 million in local and state government revenue and also supports 5,179 full-time equivalent jobs.
ArtsWestchester was recently joined by Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino and Board of Legislators Vice Chairman James Maisano at a press conference to reveal this new data to local cultural, business and community leaders. There, it was announced that since 1995, the economic impact of arts in Westchester has increased by 218 percent.
“This economic impact study sends a strong signal that when government and the corporate sector support the arts, quality of life improves – as does Westchester County’s economy,” said ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam. The data for the study was collected from 107 eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations located in Westchester County and was compiled in a report titled Arts & Economic Prosperity V.
Astorino added: “The arts are not only vital to Westchester’s quality of life, but they are also significant to our economy by creating jobs and helping businesses, large and small. This study demonstrates that Westchester is a county where our cultural resources match our intellectual capital and economic assets.”
The report also provides data that points to the arts as a driver of tourism. Sixty-two percent of nonresidents surveyed indicated that their primary purpose for visiting Westchester County was specifically to attend an arts and cultural event.
In addition to the admission at cultural events, attendees in Westchester spent an average of $21.84 per person, per event, which includes costs like dinner at a local restaurant, parking, child care, souvenirs and gifts and overnight lodging. Langsam added: “Investment in culture and arts in our neighborhoods breathes energy and economic activity into our downtowns and communities. Additionally, successful businesses rely on a creative and innovative workforce and the arts drive cultural tourism and visitor spending.”
Of the study, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts Robert L. Lynch said: “Understanding and acknowledging the incredible economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture, we must always remember their fundamental value.” He added: “They foster beauty, creativity, originality and vitality. The arts inspire us, soothe us, provoke us, involve us and connect us. But they also create jobs and contribute to the economy.”
Image above: (left to right) Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, Director of Public Affairs for Empire City Casino Taryn Duffy, ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam, Director of Westchester Public Affairs for Con Edison Jane Solnick, Vice President of Communications for Entergy Andrew Katell, Asset Manager of Kite Realty Group Robert McGuinness and Board of Legislators Vice Chairman James Maisano at ArtsWestchester’s Economic Impact Arts and Business Breakfast (photo credit: Leslye Smith)
A version of this article first appeared in the October issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.