Nashville and Davidson County’s arts and culture industry generates $429.3 million in annual economic activity, supports 14,277 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $51.1 million in local and state government revenues. These numbers come courtesy of the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national impact study, conducted by Americans for the Arts, in partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission and Metro Arts. The study was announced this morning at a press conference at the Nashville Ballet’s Martin Center by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry; Jen Cole, Director of Metro Arts; leaders of local arts and culture organizations; and board members of the Nashville Arts Coalition, including NAC membership chair Kelly Corcoran.
“The arts doesn’t just fill our hearts, they fill our minds,” said Barry at the press conference. “They create jobs. They bring in tourists. And they generate tax revenue. One of the biggest reasons why we increased the Metro Arts grant budget this year by $500,000 was because we know that the arts makes Nashville special. And we know that the arts are an essential part of success. They make us a culturally vibrant, economically vibrant global city. And that is what Nashville is known as around the world. The arts are part of our special sauce.”
Metro Arts worked with more than 80 nonprofit partners to collect data at more than 920 events, exhibits, shows and festivals. Some of the key findings include:
- Of those 14,277 full equivalent jobs, 7,391 are supported by the arts organizations, while 6,886 are supported by the audiences that engage with the arts. These can include jobs in the restaurant and hospitality industries, ground transportation and retail.
- On average, Nashvillians who attend arts events spend on additional $38.11 on ancillary items like restaurants, transportation and parking. Non-locals, including both tourists and regional visitors, spend an average of $55.97. Some 40% of arts audiences are non-residents.
- 75% of those non-residents indicated in the study that their trip to Nashville was “specifically to attend an arts and cultural event.”
- Comparatively, to regions with populations between 500,000 and 999,999, Nashville and Davidson county arts and cultural industry expenditures and job support is almost double to the average $235 million in spending and 6,789 in jobs.
“If all of a sudden we diminished the capacity of the Opera or Cheekwood or the (Country Music) Hall of Fame to do what they were doing,” said Cole, “in addition to the direct jobs in the places, we would have a minimization of other jobs that are surrounding them. And those jobs are not jobs that can go somewhere else. They can’t be outsourced. They have to be done by local people.”
Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 was the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever undertaken in the United States. The complete Metro Arts Report can be accessed here. The Americans for the Arts Study can be accessed here.