Nonprofit Arts Groups Rebound From 9/11 Slide
Survey Shows 24 Percent Spending Growth Since '02

By Jacqueline Trescott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The nonprofit segment of the arts industry is robust economically and attracting more people to its workforce, according to a new national survey.

The nonprofit arts sector generates $166 billion in total U.S. economic activity, says a study being released today. "Arts & Economic Prosperity III" was conducted by Americans for the Arts with data analysis provided by economists from Georgia Tech.

"This shows the arts have bounced back from the slide after 9/11," said Randy Cohen, vice president of policy and research at Americans for the Arts. After the terrorist attacks, tourism in the nation's main cultural centers declined, severely affecting the bottom line for many arts groups. And many donors, especially from the high-technology industry, cut back their funding at the same time as governments.

For 15 years, Americans for the Arts, a lobbying and research group, has been tracking the growth of nonprofit groups. The latest report is its most extensive, with the researchers including data from 6,080 organizations and questionnaires from 94,478 people who attended arts and cultural events.

The new survey reports that spending by the groups and their patrons grew by 24 percent from 2002 to 2007. Of the $166 billion, the organizations spent $63 billion and audiences spent $103 billion.

In addition to the cost of admission, people who went to arts events spent an average of $27.79 on items such as restaurants, refreshments and parking.

Tax revenues -- local, state and federal -- generated by the arts amounted to $29.6 billion, according to the survey, up almost 25 percent from 2002. Cohen says that governments give a little less than $4 billion to the arts.

Arts organizations employ 5.7 million people in full-time jobs, compared to 4.85 million five years ago. "We have seen the organizations grow, and their staffs grow," Cohen says.

The survey was underwritten by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ruth Lilly Fund of the arts organization.

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