March 8, 2016

Worcester joins nationwide arts economy study

A national study is seeking to calculate the economic impact of cultural and arts events such as performances at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.

Worcester recently joined a national study seeking to measure the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations.

The research study is being conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation's nonprofit organization advancing the arts and arts education. The Worcester Cultural Coalition and the cultural development office for the City of Worcester decided to join the study in an effort to measure the impact of arts spending on local jobs, income paid to local residents, and revenue generated to local and state governments, according to a release from the organizations.

"Many people overlook arts and cultural organizations as critical to driving economic development but these organizations employ local people, purchase goods and services from local merchants, elevate culture, and help drive tourism in our city. The return is economic development and social capital," said Erin Williams, cultural development officer for Worcester.

Worcester has a number of artists and cultural institutions that actively contribute to the economy.

Worcester will be one of nearly 300 nationwide partners. Action! Worcester will collect surveys from attendees at arts events using a short, anonymous questionnaire that asks how much money they spent on items such as meals, parking and transportation, and retail shopping specifically as a result of attending the event. Previous studies have shown that the average attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission.

Surveys will be collected throughout the calendar year 2016. The results of the study will be released in June 2017.

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