Nonprofit Arts, Cultural Organizations Have Positive Economic Impact

By Francis-Smith, Janice | THE JOURNAL RECORD, May 11, 2004 | Go to article overview

Nonprofit Arts, Cultural Organizations Have Positive Economic Impact


Francis-Smith, Janice, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations not only feed the soul, but are pretty good at feeding families in Oklahoma County, according to a recent study. Arts and cultural organizations attracted an estimated $486 million to Oklahoma County during 2003.

This is a major industry that, beyond the (economic impact) numbers, brings a quality of life to those already living here and offers something to people looking possibly to relocate, whether that's individuals or a company, said Jackie Jones, executive director of the Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma. We have a very vital cultural life here that generates a lot of money - and fun.

The study, conducted by the Meinders School of Business Research and Consulting Center at Oklahoma City University, is an update to a similar study the center conducted five years ago. Commissioned by The Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma, the study was conducted as part of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce's Cultural Plan.

Direct income to arts and cultural organizations - which includes donations, paid admissions to cultural events and expenditures made by out-of-county visitors - totaled $158 million in 2003. Additionally, these organizations attracted $34.1 million in grants, contributions, in-kind donations, ticket sales, subscriptions and memberships.

As this money is spent and re-spent within the community, creating a ripple effect, the total economic impact created in the county comes to $486 million. Arts and cultural organizations spent $53 million just to cover their operational expenses, adding $1.1 million to state and local tax revenues. Furthermore, these organizations have invested $95 million in capital projects, such as new buildings and/or equipment. Cultural organizations employed nearly 1,500 people both full-time and part-time.

Nonprofit cultural organizations managed to bring in about 80 percent more money in 2003 than they did five years ago, despite declines in funding and volunteerism. The previous study found that in 1998, arts and cultural organizations had an economic impact of $260 million on Oklahoma County.

The surprise for me was that the education numbers went down a little bit, said Jones. In 2003, about 368,000 students were served by sponsored programs and activities, compared with 500,000 students in 1998. Similarly, 125,000 students were enrolled in arts education courses or learning activities in 2003, compared with 196,000 in 1998.

I think that's due to the cutbacks in budgets with school systems and so forth, said Jones. …

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