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
    • If our creative economy was a public company, it would be the ninth largest in Columbus, according to Business First’s 2008 Book of Lists.
  • Area nonprofit arts and cultural organizations:
    • Generate $226 million annually for the local economy, or three times the economic impact from Ohio State sports. 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

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, 33% of residents feel the arts play a major role in their lives. 3
    • Nearly 75% would like to attend live performances more often. 3
  • 86% of Columbus residents think it’s important for the city to financially support the arts. 3
  • 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 and county 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 66 arts and cultural organizations in 2013. 5
  • In 2012, for every $1 invested by the city in arts and culture,  $29.42 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 360,000 school children with their education programs. 6
  • Programs such as the Columbus Arts Festival reach more than 450,000 residents and visitors each year.

Source list:

1. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV; Americans for the Arts; June 2012
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 2013 Annual Report; Greater Columbus Arts Council; March 2014
6. Greater Columbus Arts Council internal research based on audits from grantee organizations