Despite pulling back because of the recession, Charlotte's cultural groups are the engine behind $200 million a year in economic activity that supports more than 6,000 jobs, a study by a national arts group says.
Americans for the Arts, which looks every five years at cultural groups and their economic impact nationwide, recently released its fourth report, based on information from 2010. In Mecklenburg -- one of 182 areas it studied -- the number-crunchers worked with information from 73 nonprofit cultural groups and 740 audience members who filled out questionnaires.
To gauge the ripple effects as the money moved out from there, the analysts used an economic model tailored to Mecklenburg by economists from Georgia Tech. A few of the headline findings:
- The cultural groups' spending drove $101 million in economic activity.
- Spending by the groups' audiences generated another $101 million.
- People coming from outside Mecklenburg County to see cultural events made up about 40 percent of audiences.
- Those out-of-towners spent an average of $41.58 per person -- not including the ticket price -- on food, drink, souvenirs, parking and such.
- The groups' and audiences' spending ultimately yielded $8.4 million in tax revenues for local government and $9.8 million in taxes to the state.