Why The Arts Matter

The arts have a profound economic impact on the city.

  • Central Ohio’s Creative Economy sector (nonprofit and for-profit arts, design, performance, media and marketing industries):
    • Generate over $3 billion in business receipts each year 4
    • Employ 25,000 people with $932 million in employee wages 4
    • Pay $67 million in state and local taxes 4
  • Area nonprofit arts and cultural organizations:
    • Generate $226 million annually for the local economy 1
    • Employ more than 8,500 people 1
    • Create 17% more jobs and generate 32% more in event-related spending, excluding ticket prices, compared to communities of similar size 1
    • Attract nearly 6 million people to events each year 1
    • Generate attendance that is 1.6x that of all home sports attendance. 7

The arts attract and retain new talent and business.

  • We must attract and retain young professionals to sustain our region’s workforce and attract new businesses to central Ohio.
    • Because of lower birth rates 10 years ago, there will be 16,000 fewer 35-to 49-year-olds in central Ohio in 10 years unless we change that trend. 2
  • These younger workers (Generation Y) choose where they want to live first, and where they want to work second. 2
    • Quality of life and job availability are the deciding factors when choosing a location. 2
    • Recruiters cite the vibrancy of the local culture and arts community as a major attraction to new talent outside Columbus. 2

The arts are important to residents and visitors.

  • In Franklin County, 76% of residents support public funding for the arts. 8
  • 82% of Franklin County residents believe public funding for the arts should be county-wide. 8
  • 95% of Columbus residents believe the arts greatly enhance the city’s quality of life. 3

The Greater Columbus Arts Council is vital to the success of the region’s arts and culture industries.

  • The Arts Council provides the City of Columbus with an objective system to distribute arts and culture funding.
  • The Arts Council supports creative artists and arts organizations of all sizes – both large and small – which is a valuable asset in building a healthy cultural community.
  • Through Operating and Project Support grants, funded by the City of Columbus, the Arts Council supported 84 arts and cultural organizations in 2016. 5
  • In 2015, for every $1 invested by the city in arts and culture,  $31.34 was pumped back into the local economy from other sources, including earned income by arts organizations. 6
  • Organizations funded by the Arts Council annually reach more than 508,000 school children with their education programs. 6
  • Events such as the Columbus Arts Festival, which attracts more than 450,000 residents and visitors each year, are free and accessible ways for people to experience the arts.

Source list:

1. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV; Americans for the Arts; June 2012. Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 will be released in June, 2017.
2. Attracting and Retaining Young Workers to Columbus, Columbus Chamber; 2011 update on 2007 study by Chamber and Next Generation Consulting
3. Columbus Creative Economy; Greater Columbus Arts Council and AMS Planning and Research; 2007
4. Creative Columbus: A Picture of the Creative Economy in Central Ohio; Columbus College of Art and Design and Community Research Partners; July 2009
5. Greater Columbus Arts Council 2016 Annual Report; Greater Columbus Arts Council; February 2017
6. Greater Columbus Arts Council internal research based on audits from grantee organizations
7. Attendance from 2015, the most recently completed season for arts and sports.  Sports attendance of 3,288,739 from publicly available home game attendance for the following teams: COlumbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Clippers, Columbus Crew SC, Ohio Machine and men’s and women’s football, basketball, ice hockey, lacross and soccer and women’s field hockey at The Ohio State University. Arts attendance of 5,212,745 compiled from physical attendance at 91 central Ohio arts and cultural organizations as submitted to Americans for the Arts for the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study to be released in June 2017.
8. Phone survey by Saperstein & Associates of registered voters in Franklin County, 2016.