Last week marked the release of two landmark studies about the arts, both confirming the arts and culture industry’s positive effects on the general economy.
The New England Foundation for the Arts produced one of the reports - The Jobs in New England’s Creative Economy and Why They Matter - which was funded by a grant from the Barr Foundation. In the report, NEFA set out to identify exactly who made up New England’s creative sector, how they overlap with other sectors, and how their work is affecting the overall economy. One of the most fascinating elements of their findings was the number of people employed by the creative economy in New England--more than 310,000. This makes the share of creative employment and establishments, compared to other employment and establishments, higher in New England than it is nationally. All sectors employ and need creative workers, and those with creative occupations work everywhere, not just in the arts.
NEFA also found that the creative sector is not solely made up of artists, and in fact includes individuals from all sectors.
The second study, Arts and Economic Prosperity 5, was released by Americans for the Arts. This was a national study that looked at economic contributions of the arts all over the country. The MOAC was a partner in this effort so we have data for the City of Boston as well.
It found that the arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity in 2015, supported 4.6 million jobs, and generated $27.5 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments. In the City of Boston alone, the total amount spent by the nonprofit arts and culture industry was $1,354,137,061, and the number of full-time jobs supported by the industry equaled 45,889. These numbers are significant and they reinforce the role of the creative economy in the economic vitality of the city.
On Monday, local leaders in government, business, and the arts joined forces at Sonos’ Boston office to launch a campaign that underlines this key takeaway: --“Arts Means Business”. Known as #artsmeansbiz on social media, the campaign strives to highlight the importance of arts and culture to the economy and encourages individuals to better support the creative economy.
Speakers included Mayor Marty Walsh, Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Barr Foundation President Jim Canales, Sonos CMO Joy Howard, and Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO James Rooney. They all stressed one thing--that investing in the arts is crucial to creating a thriving economy. With the implementation of things such as the Boston Artist In Residence Program, the Artist Fellowship Award, and the Percent for Art Program, Boston has already made great strides to accomplish the goals laid out in the Boston Creates Cultural Plan, investing in local artists and helping to keep them in Boston. However, there is much more room to grow, and in order for more progress to be made, we need to continue to drive towards achieving all of the goals laid out in the plan.