Nonprofit Newswire | It’s the Arts, Stupid

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March 11, 2010; Boston Globe | We’ve all heard arguments about how the arts enrich the cultural life of communities. But what about their power to contribute to local coffers? The Boston Globe reports on findings of a study that found six cultural institutions in a town near Boston “generate nearly double their budgets in local spending annually, creating scores of jobs along the way.” Combined, these six institutions—arts and history centers, a public garden and library—spend about of $6.3 million annually for operations and support some 87 full-time equivalent jobs. These are numbers that the Globe says, “would make any small to mid-size business proud.” More impressively, however, the report found that these organizations generate nearly double their own budgets annually—or $11.4 million—in local spending. Nearly one-third of that, or $4.1 million, is generated by the two branches of the Framingham Public Library. “We’ve become more of a cultural institution,’’ said the library’s director, Mark Contois. “We host over 700 programs per year such as Friday films and Sunday concerts.’’ And it gets better. The study predicts that if these institutions maintain their spending levels, the six organizations will spur $127 million in local spending and contribute to the creation of more than 2,000 jobs over the coming decade. If they also spend $20 million on planned renovations, the study projects it will result in another $36 million in spending and 537 more jobs. The heck with art for art’s sake . . . it’s the economy, stupid.—Bruce Trachtenberg