The arts mean business – AEP5 shows us the money

The arts mean business – AEP5 shows us the money

The arts is one of the key ingredients for creating a sense of place. They bring people from diverse backgrounds together to experience creativity and new ways of thinking that can help solve social issues. And doesn’t it just make sense that businesses interact best in a creative environment?

We all know that “the arts mean business*,” but sometimes in policy discussions or even education budget decision making, somehow the arts get short shrift. Why is that? Maybe because its champions haven’t always done the best storytelling in tying arts to measurable return on investment. Remember the “Show me the money!” line from that movie a few years back? Well, we’re pleased to now be able to do just that.

In Lee County, 41 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations provided detailed financial and event attendance information about their organization to help Americans for the Arts complete its Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study. Maybe you’ve heard about this important study, because it really did make some waves, as reported in The News-Press, Gulfshore Life, WGCU and Florida Weekly. Why all the fuss? Check out the bottom line: try on $140 billion – with a “b” – for size. That’s the amount that arts and cultural organizations, plus their audiences, spent in fiscal year 2015. Put another way, Lee County’s economy received that potent shot in the arm as a direct impact of arts spending.

There are many more interesting numbers that complete the picture, and you can enjoy a snapshot view of this very comprehensive study or read the full report at a link provided by the Alliance for the Arts, here. You might notice the EnSite logo at the bottom of that page. We are an annual sponsor of the Alliance, because we already know the arts mean business. Just think – $140 billion. With a “b.” Way to go, Lee County!

*Robert L. Lynch, CEO of Americans for the Arts
“…Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 offers a clear and welcome message: the arts are an investment that delivers both community well-being and economic vitality.

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