ArtsWestchester Launches 2017 Art$WChallenge and Reveals New Evidence that the Arts Impact Economic Growth

The economic impact of the arts in Westchester has increased by 218% since 1995 to a high of $172.3 million; individuals and companies can double the impact with the 2017 Art$WChallenge.

A recent study by Americans for the Arts has concluded that the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a significant industry in Westchester County. The research indicates that the sector generates $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.

The data from the report, titled “Arts & Economic Prosperity V,” was presented by ArtsWestchester during a breakfast ceremony at Morton’s The Steakhouse in downtown White Plains to local cultural, business and community leaders in attendance. ArtsWestchester was joined by Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino to reveal the new data on the arts. Additionally, Astorino and Westchester County Board of Legislators Vice Chairman James Maisano announced the county’s support of the 2017 Art$WChallenge.

“The arts sector is a powerful economic driver that fuels smart growth in Westchester,” said Janet Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester. “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.”

The data for the study was collected from 107 eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations located in Westchester County. These organizations also reported that the aggregate arts attendance to their events was 3 million during 2015 alone. Since 1995 the economic impact of arts in Westchester has increased by 218 percent. The research also indicates that attendees to cultural events in Westchester spend an average of $21.84 per person, per event and that does not even include the cost of admission. It includes things like how much they pay for dinner at a local restaurant, parking, child care, souvenirs and gifts and overnight lodging. Sixty-two percent of nonresidents surveyed indicated that their primary purpose for visiting Westchester County was specifically to attend an arts and cultural event.

“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,” Astorino said. “This study demonstrates that Westchester is a county where our cultural resources match our intellectual capital and economic assets. Partnering with ArtsWestchester is smart business.”

“Understanding and acknowledging the incredible economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture, we must always remember their fundamental value,” said Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “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.”

Langsam added: “Investment in culture and arts in our neighborhoods breathe 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.”

Also during the breakfast ceremony, ArtsWestchester encouraged individuals and companies to double their impact with the 2017 Art$WChallenge, which runs through December 15. The Art$WChallenge program encourages individuals and companies to contribute to one or more of the 50 eligible Westchester arts groups in order to leverage a dollar for dollar match made possible by Westchester County Government (up to $5,000 per organization until all available funds have been allocated). Through this public/private partnership, more than $4 million for the arts has been raised in ten years.

“The Art$WChallenge is a proven and effective way to support some of Westchester’s leading cultural organizations that contribute to the vibrant quality of life in Westchester County,” Langsam said. “In the ten years of the challenge grant program, arts organizations have raised more than $2.54M with ArtsWestchester providing an additional $1.47M in matching funds. The total of more than $4M investment in the arts is a win-win for county residents, arts groups and the economy. We are extremely pleased to continue this valuable partnership with Westchester County.”

For more information about ArtsWestchester and the Art$WChallenge, please visit:

About ArtsWestchester

For more than 50 years, ArtsWestchester has been the community’s connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest private not-for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to create an equitable, inclusive, vibrant and sustainable Westchester County in which the arts are integral to and integrated into every facet of life. ArtsWestchester provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester County. ArtsWestchester helps fund concerts, exhibitions and plays through grants; brings artists into schools and community centers; advocates for the arts; and builds audiences through diverse marketing initiatives. In 1998, ArtsWestchester purchased the nine-story neo-classical bank building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue which has since been transformed into a multi-use resource for artists, cultural organizations and the community. A two-story gallery is located on the first floor of ArtsWestchester’s historic building on Mamaroneck Avenue.