Economic Impact of Arts & Culture in Hartford Region Gains Notice

When the MetroHartford Alliance and the Greater Hartford Arts Council brought business and arts leaders together at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts this week, it was the numbers that carried the day, touting the business benefits of the arts and culture industry.  The national study focused on regions across the country using data developed by Americans for the Arts.  In the Greater Hartford region, 123 local arts institutions participated, with more than 800 audience surveys. The top ten stand-out facts about the annual economic impact of arts and culture in the Greater Hartford area, which was defined as Hartford County and Tolland County:

  1. Total Arts and Culture Industry expenditures in the Greater Hartford area:  $230.4 million
  2. Full time equivalent jobs supported: 6,879
  3. Revenue generated to local government: $5,184,000
  4. Revenue generated to state government:  $16,244,000
  5. Spending by Arts & Heritage Organizations;  $148,242,871
  6. Event-Related Spending(total)excluding the cost of admission:  $82,005,472
  7. Average Spending per person: $20.35 ($17.50 from residents of the region; $30.02 from those who reside outside the region)
  8. Total Attendance:  4,028,850  (3,110,272 from within the region; 918.578 from outside the region)
  9. Estimated aggregate value of volunteer hours:  $7,506,865 (7,258 volunteers donated a total of 351,445 hours to nonprofit arts and culture organizations).
  10. Greater Hartford’s arts and cultural community ranks in the top 10% of metro areas across North America.

The findings also noted that of those surveyed:

  • 48% of those attending a cultural event, and who live in the Greater Hartford area, would have traveled to a different community in order to attend a similar cultural experience.
  • 60% of those who live outside the immediate region said the same.

The report concluded, therefore, that if the money wasn’t being spent in Hartford, it would be spent elsewhere.  The report’s overall  bottom line:  arts and culture is “an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is a cornerstone of tourism.”

The national study included 182 regions include 139 individual cities and counties, 31 multi-city regions, 10 states, and two arts districts and represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Greater Hartford was one of the cities that participated in the survey, which was conducted using 2010 data.

The study results were announced at the MetroHartford Alliance's November Rising Star Breakfast, which  featured Randy I. Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy for Americans for the Arts, and a local panel that included Catherine Smith, commission of the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development; Thomas E. Deller, director of Hartford’s development services and Michael Stotts, managing director of Hartford Stage. The event was sponsored by The Phoenix Companies, Inc. and included remarks from Cathy Malloy, executive director of the Greater Hartford Arts Council.