In a groundbreaking study released on October 12, 2023, Americans for the Arts unveiled the staggering economic impact of Oregon’s vibrant arts and culture sector. The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study showcased that in fiscal year 2022, this sector contributed a monumental $829 million to Oregon’s economy. This revelation not only highlights the financial vitality of the arts and culture industry but also underscores its integral role in shaping the state’s economic landscape.
Randy Cohen, vice president of research for Americans for the Arts, recently shared the results of this study with the Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon board. You can view the presentation here. He will visit nine Oregon communities in early November to share the results and discuss the data (see itinerary in the Oregon Arts Commission press release).
The study, supported by the Oregon Arts Commission and Travel Oregon, encompassed data from 19 distinct regions and communities across Oregon. These findings underscore the profound influence that artists and cultural organizations exert on local economies, propelling job creation and business growth throughout the state. Sophorn Cheang, director of Business Oregon, remarked, “Prosperous local economies lead to a prosperous statewide economy, and this study shows how arts and culture can impact job creation and business growth throughout Oregon.”
Nationally, the AEP6 study sheds light on the vast scope of America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector, revealing it as a $151.7 billion industry. This sector sustains 2.6 million jobs and generates an astounding $29.1 billion in government revenue. Oregon’s substantial contribution to this sector is a testament to the state’s thriving arts and culture community.
The Power of Attendance:
The study uncovered that 8.9 million attendees of arts and culture events in Oregon invested an average of $39 per event (beyond ticket price), amounting to a total expenditure of over $330 million. This expenditure encompasses various aspects including meals, parking, souvenirs, babysitting, and hotel stays. Impressively, nearly one million of these attendees were visitors from outside the state, affirming the draw of Oregon’s vibrant cultural offerings.
For the first time, AEP6 ventured beyond economic data to assess the social impact of arts and culture on communities and residents. A staggering 89.3 percent of respondents said arts and culture inspire a sense of pride in their neighborhoods or communities. Additionally, 87.2 percent expressed they would feel a profound sense of loss if these cultural offerings were no longer available, underscoring the deep emotional connection forged through artistic experiences.
The Portland metro area and the City of Eugene emerged as prominent contributors to the economic impact, with expenditures totaling $456.5 million and $123.8 million, respectively. The small coastal city of Florence surpassed expectations, with expenditures exceeding $7.2 million and individual event spending above the state average at $65.
Brian Rogers, Executive Director of the Oregon Arts Commission, emphasized, “AEP6 is evidence that the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a significant industry in the State of Oregon.” The data presents a resounding argument for the importance of continued support for the arts, not only for the enrichment of life but also for bolstering Oregon’s economic vitality and visibility.
The AEP6 study provides an illuminating look into the monumental impact of Oregon’s arts and culture sector. With an economic contribution of $829 million in FY2022, the arts community emerges not just as a cultural cornerstone but as a vital economic force, enriching lives and sustaining livelihoods across the state. It is clear that investing in the arts yields substantial returns, both economically and socially, making it a cornerstone of Oregon’s prosperity.