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Deep in the ART of Texas: Economic Impact Study Shows Significant Impact of the Arts in Texas

The results of a 2003 economic impact study out of Austin confirms the suspicions of many Texas cultural art lovers, demonstrating that the cultural arts have a Texas-sized impact on our economy. The purpose of the study, produced by leading Texas economist Dr. Ray Perryman, was to comprehensively examine the economic impact of the arts on Texas. The study concludes that the arts have an extraordinary impact on the Texas economy ranging from billions of dollars in total expenditures, gross product and personal income, to almost two million permanent jobs.The study raised awareness of the total contributions of cultural activities within the state and offers a perspective on future patterns and prospects. The report focuses on the full integration of the arts into the entire spectrum of production in the state.Key findings of the study include:1. The Arts as a Component of the Entire Economic SystemWhen viewed in terms of their contributions to all sectors of the economy, the cultural arts account for $190.2 billion in total expenditures (12.3% of the state total). The cultural arts also result in $98.4 billion in Gross Product, $61.7 billion in Personal Income and 1.918 million Permanent Jobs (15.7%).2. THE ARTS AS TRADITIONALLY MEASURED (Visual, Literary, Media and Performing)The overall effects of the contribution of the arts as traditionally measured (visual, literary, media, and performing) include $63.7 billion in Total Expenditures, $31.5 billion in Gross Product, $18.7 billion in Personal Income, and over 600,000 Permanent Jobs.As traditionally measured, the cultural arts are responsible for about 19.8% of the total tourism in the state.3. THE NONPROFIT SEGMENT OF THE ARTSThe nonprofit segment of the arts brings a net benefit to Texas of $19.0 Billion in Total Expenditures, $9.5 billion in Gross Product, $5.9 billion in Personal Income, and over 200,000 Permanent Jobs.The nonprofit arts sector is the incubator for the vast role of cultural activity in the economy. For every $1 spent on those activities, more than $298 of long-term cultural impact on the economy occurs, as well as $9.20 in State revenues.4. RURAL IMPACTApproximately 5.5% of the economic impact of traditional cultural arts occurs in rural segments of the state.Rural regions of Texas enjoy 6.6% of all nonprofit arts activity.STAND UP AND TAKE NOTICE, Y’ALL!Governmental investments in arts and cultural organizations are no longer about intangibles. Arts and cultural organizations in Texas make very real and significant contributions to the local economy and are worthy of community support and advertising dollars. These contributions are significant and sustained. Even in the face of economic slowdown, arts and cultural organizations continue to impact the Texas economy substantially, in addition to the enjoyment and fulfillment they provide to our citizens and visitors each year.One look at the numbers will surely cause any Texas advertiser to stand up and take notice of the potential when linking up with artistic and cultural endeavors as part of this year’s promotional campaign. They need your support and you need their audiences.In 2003, arts and cultural organizations in Texas generated over $55 million in economic activity and impact from construction and capital expenditure activity to new and existing facilities. These same organizations generated about $320 million in economic activity from indirect audience spending associated with attendance at arts events during that same year. Nearby, the total economic impact of the arts in Fort Worth in 2003 was about $250 million; in Dallas, over $500 million. Other metroplex communities generated about $23 million.Do the math: that’s nearly $800 million! The Governor’s office has noticed. Have you?ARTSY COMMUNITIES MEAN BUSINESSBear in mind, when we talk about “the cultural arts,” we’re including everything from Art Museums to Texas Music and Dance. We’re talking about the ethnic culture here from Polish to German, Mexican to Italian. From Texas Indians to the history of our great educational institutions, people want to know so they can go! They want to visit and they want to learn. It’s ALL of interest to SOMEBODY and people are spending good money in Texas to be part of what the Lone Star State has to offer.The legacy of every civilization is, in large part, found in the art they leave behind. No wonder that, when the one hundred most influential people of the past were named, over one quarter of those named represented the cultural arts. In addition to the arts being so important to our social structure, they are, as shown, an important part of our economy and are worthy of our attention. They are, in fact, completely, immovably, forever engrained into our economic system.Blu Dornan, a local artist from Stephenville, said, “I have been received very well since I started promoting my art [in Stephenville] a year ago… Art within the community reflects the local environment. It gives us pride as a society and lets visitors know who we are as a community and what we are about. Remember, an artist’s greatest fear is that his or her work will never be seen and the vision never realized.”SPEAKING OF STEPHENVILLE…As a Civil War and Alamo buff who has done his share of painting, writing, sketching and illustrating on a professional level, this writer would love nothing more than to see my home town of Stephenville, Texas – the Cowboy Capital of the World – become the State’s next hotbed of artistic and cultural activity as well. We have so much to offer and so many people would benefit by visiting here. Fact is, folks are coming here in droves and tourism numbers are way up for each of the past three years. Among other things, they’re visiting our local museums and historic points of interest including the Cowboy Capital Walk of Fame, Heritage Square, the Dublin Dr Pepper Museum, and the Stephenville Historical House Museum. Tarleton University has much to offer including their Planetarium, the Dora Lee Langdon Cultural and Educational Center in Granbury, and the W.K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas.Currently, thanks to the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council (CTFAC), there’s a surprising amount of cultural arts activity in our community. Last August, we thrilled to the Glenn Miller Band outdoors and the Fort Worth Symphony makes a stop in town every other year. We are always looking forward to more of the same. The Stephenville Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council, entering its second year, has already taken steps toward tapping into the talents and cultural expertise associated with the area’s Hispanic population. And we’ll be seeing more from them as well.Where fine arts are concerned, we have art galleries the likes of Brian Drake Studios, the Thompson Fine Arts Gallery, Brooks Art Gallery, Tarleton’s Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center and Gallery and, of course, the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Center’s River North Gallery.Debbie Reynolds, Director of the CTFAC, says, “The gallery provides a place for artists to exhibit their work without a fee, where they can offer their art for sale and is open free to the public…” Mrs. Reynolds reminds us, “Not only do the arts have an economic impact, but they also improve the quality of life. Not just through entertainment, but education as well. Statistics show that students who participate in any form of the arts: band, theater, visual art, choir, dance, etc. are higher academic achievers. They score higher on tests, develop leadership and cognitive thinking skills, time management, self discipline, creativity and problem solving skills.” She added, “In September 2004 the State Board of Education adopted new curriculum requirements for grades K-5 regarding increased arts education in Texas schools. These new initiatives will start with the 2005-06 school year….we are exposed to art forms every day all day long, whether it is through the music we listen to, through magazines, movies, TV, billboards, architecture, auto design, textiles, clothing design, home decorating, floral design and the like.”Dan Delgado, President of the Stephenville Visual Arts Booster club says, “…the Arts are a basic component of a healthy, well-rounded person…The Arts cause us to stop, remember life and relive….they capture the wonder of life and pass it on in a manner that allows others to enjoy it, even if it’s through a vivid imagination, or a dream. The mind is a wonderful tool and enjoying the Fine Arts is the perfect way to put it to use…there is no right or wrong way to appreciate the Arts. There’s only your way!”To the local business person, looking for the right place to spend your ad dollar, in this writer’s professional marketing opinion, we need to sponsor all cultural arts events and activities as if there were no tomorrow.So, put your money where your ART is. You’ll be glad you did.