A new study aims to show how the arts contribute to more than just a region’s quality of life.

The report found the arts are a $185 million industry in central Iowa and employ nearly 5,700 full-time workers. Sally Dix, executive director of Bravo Greater Des Moines, says the arts play a serious economic role.

Dix says, “We want to make sure they understand that an investment in the arts not only drives the quality of life, but it also drives a central economic benefit to the region.”

The study also finds the arts generate nearly $17 million in local and state government revenue. Dix says she’s proud of the findings. “Hopefully everyone will use this data for a minute to celebrate, but then after that, we need to use this data to inform, how can we move forward,” she says.

The report from Bravo Greater Des Moines was conducted by the national group Americans for the Arts. The 20th annual Des Moines Arts Festival opens today and runs through Sunday.

(Thanks to Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio)