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Study: Arts and Culture Generate Nearly Quarter Billion in Annual Economic Activity in Dane County and Support 9,154 Jobs

June 27, 2017
Mark Fraire
County Executive

 Analysis Shows Arts Industry Returns $23.9 million in Revenue to Local and State Coffers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $249.9 million  in annual economic activity in Dane County supporting 9,154 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $23.9 million in local and state government revenues, according to a new economic impact study.  The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study is the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever directed in the United States, and  was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education.

“This study confirms that work done by Dane County’s Dane Arts continues to bolster our economy and supports thousands of jobs and families,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said. “Our thriving arts community makes Dane County a vibrant place to live and work. Dane Arts continually harnesses this artistic passion to honor our culture and local history in expressive ways for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

The study shows nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $145.7 million during fiscal year 2015. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated $125,149,000 in household income for local residents and $13,462,000 in local and state government revenues.

“This economic impact study generated through Americans for the Arts (AFTA) proves that the arts are both an economic and cultural driver in Dane County.  We should not be surprised at the data since we know Dane County is a county where artists, creative entrepreneurs, and innovative thinkers want to live and spend their money,” said Mark Fraire, Director of Dane Arts, who led the study in Dane County for AFTA.

Nationwide, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 reveals that the nonprofit arts industry produces $166.3 billion in economic activity every year, resulting in $27.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues. In addition, it supports 4.6  million full-time equivalent jobs and generates $96.07 billion in household income.

“This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live. Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”


Arts Industry Boon for Local Businesses

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages $46.64 billion  in event-related spending by its audiences. As a result of attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. What’s more, attendees from out of town often stay overnight in a local hotel. In Dane County, these dollars support 9,154 full-time equivalent jobs and generate $23.9 million in  local and state government revenues.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. Financial information from organizations was collected in partnership with DataArts™, using a new online survey interface. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, visit


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