A new study finds the arts industry has a significant financial impact on Iowa, generating $80-million a year and supporting nearly 3,000 jobs. The group Americans for the Arts surveyed some 65 non-profit arts groups in Iowa, tallying up employees and local contracts. It also factored in what local patrons spend on gas, food and even babysitters.
Rob Cline is a spokesman for Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa. “Regardless of the economic conditions, the arts are not a luxury,” Cline says.
“They are, in fact, an industry like any other industry and an industry that produces a remarkable return on each dollar invested.” Randy Cohen, with Americans for the Arts, says local arts non-profit groups want Iowans to know that without them, the economy would take a real hit.
“People just don’t intuitively think about that,” Cohen says. “Everybody loves the arts, but the fact is, the arts are an industry that supports jobs and generates government revenue. It’s also a reminder that you need to make an investment in that industry as well.” A similary survey in 2005 found the arts, at that time, generated $63-million in economic impact per year.
Cohen says government should be more willing to support cultural non-profits, but adds, he’d be happy if more people just went to a museum on occasion.