The nonprofit arts industry in Greater Richmond generates almost $330 million dollars in economic activity each year, creating a prodigious economic engine that – according to Scott Garka, president of Richmond-based CultureWorks – is the financial equivalent of having another Fortune 500 corporation in the region.
CultureWorks, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening arts and culture in Central Virginia, sponsored an economic impact study, The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6. It found broad and recurring impact across the economic landscape – from supporting 6,743 full-time equivalent jobs to generating $82.7 million in tax revenues to local, state and federal governments.
The research, based on survey results from close to 100 regional cultural organizations, was conducted by Americans for the Arts, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that seeks to build recognition and support for the nation’s arts and culture.
Photo credit: Daniel Jones
At a morning gathering of more than 50 local community business leaders and local government officials at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Randy Cohen, vice president of research at Americans for the Arts, presented the study’s findings. Cohen notably shared that local arts and culture nonprofits spent $213.2 million during 2022, which leveraged an impressive $116.7 million in additional spending by their audiences.
The study “lays to rest the misconception that communities support arts and culture at the expense of local economic development,” the study concluded, adding, “In fact, communities that support arts and culture not only enhance their quality of life, but they also invest in their economic wellbeing.”
Echoing support for the findings at the event, Virginia First Lady Suzanne Youngkin said, “the business of the arts sometimes gets lost in the conversation. The arts change our community economically.”
For details of the study, visit https://richmondcultureworks.org/economic-impact-aep6.