A picture isn’t just worth a thousand words, it turns out the arts are worth millions in jobs and dollars in the economy of Augusta and for our neighbors across the river.
Last year, a study by American for the Arts found that arts and culture generated $24.6 million in spending by organizations and audiences specifically in Richmond County. Although non-profit organizations are tax-exempt, money spent by consumers on goods and services, including hotel lodging, meals, and purchases resulted in $2.8 million in local, state, and federal tax revenue. That breaks down to $428,530 for local coffers.
Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, conducted the economic and social impact study. Richmond County was one of 373 communities and regions across all 50 states and Puerto Rico where the information was collected. The Greater Augusta Arts Council (GAAC) assisted with the local study.
Dr. Genna Styles-Lyas, director of the Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), shared the local results at the Nov. 9 GAAC’s annual Arts Day Luncheon.
“We do have a really conservative approach to the research,” she explained. “What we’ll see is the local studies, only the data for those folks who participated in the study. So, you can really count on the reliability of the study and the conservative nature. We oversee to make sure that we have a reliable, diverse sampling of who’s going to be in the survey process.”
The AEP6 study showed the national numbers reach into the billions for economic impact. The arts and culture sectors generate $151.7 billion in economic impact and $29.1 billion in government revenue.
Styles-Lyas said the arts industry is also generating local jobs. The study found that 523 jobs in Richmond County were connected to the arts. Nationally, that number stands at 2.6 million jobs.
The findings are borne out at the state level by information from the Georgia Council for the Arts, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
The most recent numbers show creative industries brought in $37 billion in revenue, employed 200,000 people, and had a total economic impact of $62.5 billion. That represents 4% of all business revenue in Georgia.
The impact is similar in South Carolina, according to a study released this year by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The report shows a $14.1 billion total economic impact on the Palmetto State. There are 123,550 local jobs supported by the arts-related cluster. The estimated tax revenue is $360.2 million annually.
The study refers to the “arts-related cluster,” the direct and indirect impact of all arts-related businesses, their suppliers, and employees.
The full report of the study by Americans for the Arts is available at: www.AEP6.AmericansForTheArts.org.
The latest report for Georgia is at: www.georgia.org/industries/arts.
This year’s study by the South Carolina Arts Commission is at: www.southcarolinaarts.com.