Ocala/Marion County Art Studies

The Economic Impact of NonProfit Arts & Cultural Organizations & Their Audiences

The City of Ocala, along funding partners the College of Central Florida, Fine Arts For Ocala, Ocala Civic Theatre, Marion Cultural Alliance, Fine Arts for Ocala, Ocala Municipal Arts Commission and the Appleton Museum of Art participated in the Americans for the Arts fifth study of Arts Prosperity (AEP5). This was the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted and included 341 cities, counties, states and individual arts districts.

The Americans for the Arts Prosperity 5 (AEP5) study reveals that our nonprofit arts and culture organizations are economic drivers—creating an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is a growing asset in our tourism portfolio.

AEP5 indicated that our local arts industry has a $56 million dollar annual impact on our local economy, employs 1,422, and generates $6.1 million in local and state government revenue. The research revealed that for every dollar an arts organization spent, an additional $3 was spent by arts event attendees, not counting the cost of admission.

By every measure, the results are impressive. This study puts to rest a misconception that communities support arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. In fact, communities are investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism. Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 shows conclusively that, locally as well as nationally, the arts mean business!

Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO for Americans for the Arts says it well, “Understanding and acknowledging the incredible economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture, we must always remember their fundamental value. They foster beauty, creativity, originality, and vitality. The arts inspire us, sooth us, provoke us, involve us, and connect us. But they also create jobs and contribute to the economy.”

According to a study by Americans for the Arts, Arts and Ecoomic Prosperity Ò5, the arts and culture generates $56 million in total economic activity in Ocala. The arts have a huge impact on our community. The numbers break down as follows:

Do the Arts Improve the Economy?

We believe they do! A recent study from Americans for the Arts reported 85% of Americans believe the arts and culture are important to local businesses and the economy. This same percentage also believes the arts and culture are important to quality of life. Non-Marion County residents were surveyed and 87.7% shared that the main reason they came to Ocala was specifically to attend an arts / cultural event.

“Even in a strong economy, some may perceive the arts as an unaffordable luxury. Fortunately, this rigorous report offers evidence that the nonprofit arts industry provides not just cultural benefits to our communities, but also makes significant positive economic contributions to the nation’s financial well-being regardless of the overall state of the economy. The arts as a driver of employment, vibrancy, tourism, and building a creative workforce are certainly something to applaud.” — Jonathan Spector President & CEO The Conference Board

The arts retain local dollars.

This same survey reported 45.1% of resident attendees said they would have “traveled to a different community to attend a similar cultural event.” Without the nonprofit arts and culture, not only does a community lose those dollars from cultural tourists, it also loses the discretionary spending of its own residents who will go elsewhere for those experiences.

“As a banker, I have visited businesses in almost every city and town in my state. There is a visible difference in places with a vibrant arts community. I see people looking for places to park, stores staying open late, and restaurants packed with diners. The business day is extended and the cash registers are ringing!” — Ken Fergeson, Chairman, NBC Oklahoma Past President, American Bankers Association

To read more about the economic impact the arts and culture have on Ocala, click here.

Information is drawn from the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5

City of Ocala’s Cultural Art Ten Year Plan

The City of Ocala, with funding support from Marion Cultural Alliance (MCA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), commissioned New York based Martinez + Johnson Architecture with Webb Management Services to complete a study to provide strategies to grow opportunities, assets, and provide more access to the arts.

The study involved nearly 900 different touch point involving arts and cultural leaders, the public, and governmental entities.

The final report includes an assessment of our current cultural resources, evaluation and recognition of progress made to date, and provides recommendations in several arts and cultural areas, including the feasibility of a cultural arts district, a marketing plan, and an economically viable funding policy.

This plan:

This cultural road map, will lead us to our aspirational goal of being one of the best cities for the arts.

To view the Community Cultural Arts Plan, click here.