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National study gauges arts spending in Juneau

City ranks second in Alaska in spending

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2002

Out of five Alaska cities included in a national economic study, Juneau ranked second behind Homer as having the highest total nonprofit arts industry spending per capita.

Information for Juneau was collected and submitted by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council.

"The Alaska State Council of the Arts asked us to participate," said Sybil Davis, JAHC executive director. "Juneau Lyric Opera, Juneau Symphony, Perseverance Theatre and Juneau Arts and Humanities Council participated. This speaks highly of our community."

Americans for the Arts based its survey of the nonprofit arts industry in the United States on information from 3,000 local arts organizations and 40,000 attendees at art events in 91 cities in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

Communities surveyed ranged in population, geography and type - rural to large urban - and local arts agencies served as local research partners, collecting expenditure data.

Juneau was grouped with 14 other national communities with populations of less than 500,000. Homer, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Ketchikan were included in the group.

The study found the national nonprofit arts industry generates $134 billion in economic activity every year, resulting in $24.4 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.

"When communities invest in the arts, there is a tendency to think that they are opting for cultural benefits at the expense of economic benefits," said Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "This study demonstrates that the arts are an industry that generates extraordinary economic activity, jobs and tax revenues."

Nonprofit arts organizations spent a total of $53.2 billion in 2000, an increase from $36.8 billion since the last study in 1992. The study shows Homer arts organizations spent almost $279 per capita, while Juneau organizations spent about $199.

The study said the $134 billion in national economic activity has a significant impact, creating 4.85 million full-time jobs and generating $89.4 billion in household income, $6.6 billion in local government tax revenues, $7.3 billion in state government tax revenues and $10.5 billion in federal income tax revenues.

Nationally, arts audiences spent $80.8 billion in event-related spending, an average of $22.87 per person for hotels, restaurants, parking, souvenirs and refreshments, with nonlocal attendees spending nearly twice as much as local attendees.

Juneau came last in the group of Alaska communities for money spent by arts audiences, with an average of about $32 spent per person, per event. An arts spectator in Homer spent an average of about $397 per person, Ketchikan audiences spent more than $94 each and Anchorage spent an average of about $74 per person, per event.

Davis said though some people visit Juneau and spend money here while attending arts events, most audience members live in town and therefore spend little for hotels, restaurants, parking and souvenirs.

"Some questions weren't suitable for Juneau, such as how much was spent to go to an event," Davis said. "Most here took the bus or drove their own car; they didn't eat out and went home afterward."

Juneau came in second after Anchorage in local government revenue generated by the arts industry with $286,000 to Anchorage's $1,039,000, and came second to Anchorage in state government revenue, generating $422,000 to Anchorage's $1,608,000.

Because of its population, Anchorage came out on top in the study for spending in all categories, but Homer spends and generates more per capita in the nonprofit arts industry. Per capita, Homer's arts organizations spent a total of almost $676, while Anchorage spent a about $114. Homer's arts industry generated about $45 in state revenue per capita, and Anchorage generated a little more than $6.

"Homer is a very artsy town," Davis said.

The study was funded by the American Express Co., the National Endowment for the Arts and community-based arts partners. The full text of the study can be found at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/EconomicImpact.

"This study just reaffirms how important arts and culture are to this city," Davis said.

Emily Wescott can be reached at ewescott@juneauempire.com.



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