A Benchmark for the Economic Impact of the Arts in Naperville

Today, I’m pleased to launch a new comprehensive community arts series, entitled The Impact and Potential of the Arts in Naperville .  This series will be based upon research, case studies and analysis as well as my own thoughts and vision regarding the bright future for the arts in Naperville.  As a nonprofit executive and an artist, I’ve experienced both the business world and arts world through a single lens and see tremendous potential.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, Naperville enjoys a strong devotion to the arts through a number of arts organizations, events, institutions and activists.  Given this foundation, Naperville is poised to open the next great chapter in the future of community arts. 

Based on my own lifelong passion for and experience in the music and film arts as well as the creative process, I’ve spent the last couple of years gathering and analyizing community arts models and a great deal of documentation pertaining to the impact as well as challenges of strengthening community arts programs.  My strongest desire is to help make a difference in people’s lives by advancing the role of the arts in society in making the arts and opporutnities for creative self-expression accessible to all.

I believe deeply in the power and potential of the arts in improving lives on a personal, community and economic level.  Thanks to our nation’s arts advocates and community leaders, we can now also quantify the tangible value of the arts.  Below is a quick summary of the most recent body of data pertaining to the economic impact of the arts.       

Americans for the Arts (www.artsusa.org), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America, recently released the most comprehensive study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever performed.  While the summary of the study, entitled Arts and Economic Prosperity III, was released over the past couple of months, the raw data tables were formally released just yesterday in Chicago.  

To help shed some light on the potential economic impact for Naperville, I crunched the numbers pertaining specifically to study participant cities which fall in Naperville’s population range (128,000 – 139,000).  These participants include:  Alexandria, VA, Fort Collins, CO, Humboldt County, CA, Savannah, GA, Marathon County, WI, Fullerton, CA and Island of Maui, HI.

It is important to note that Arts and Economic Prosperity III focuses solely on nonprofit arts and culture organizations as well as their audiences. 

These data findings will enable Naperville’s government, business and arts leaders to benchmark and envision an even greater future for role and impact of the arts in Naperville.

Summary of Nonprofit and Arts and Culture Organizations in Cities with a Comparable Population to Naperville (combined average of population group)

Please note, Arts and Economic Prosperity III focuses on data from 2005.

Overall Direct Local Economic Impact:  $27,337,709 

Overall Local Event Related Spending:  $19,098,585

Local Event Related Spending per Non-Resident (excludes admission):  $44.89

Local Event Related Spending per Resident (excludes admission):  $21.25

Attendance by Gender:   Female – 63.4%     Male – 36.6%

Attendance by Education Level (2-4 years of college):  56.2%

Attendance by Education Level (Masters or Doctoral):  27.4%

Attendance by Education Level (High School or Less):  16.4%

Arts Volunteerism (Total Volunteers): 2,338

Arts Volunteerism (Total Hours):  148,667

Arts Volunteerism (Value of Time):  $3,624,702

Arts Volunteerism (Hours per Volunteer):  59.5

If you would like to access all current resources related to Arts and Economic Prosperity III, you can visit:  http://www.artsusa.org/information_resources/research_information/services/economic_impact/default.asp

In the coming weeks, I will be adding many other pieces to this series which will serve as a strong basis for community leaders as we all work together to plan the future of the arts in Naperville.

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