Vermont Business Magazine Vermont is participating in one of the nation’s largest studies to gauge the economic power of the nonprofit arts and culture industry, and it needs audience input.
The national study, Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), is the sixth national study of its kind and is administered by Americans for the Arts. Conducted about every five years, the study measures the economic impact of spending on employment, government revenue, and household income related to the nonprofit arts and culture industry. AEP6 involves 387 participating communities representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Now through April 2023, Vermont audiences attending select in-person arts and cultural events, performances, and exhibits will be asked to take a brief electronic survey, either on their own smart device or using a venue-provided device. Survey questions will ask about event-related spending and attitudes toward the cultural event.
Vital anchors for many of Vermont’s communities, arts, culture, and other creative enterprises are key economic drivers. In 2019, arts and culture alone contributed $1.1 billion to the Vermont economy. The previous AEP study, in 2017, found that the Vermont nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $123 million in economic activity (spending by organizations plus the event-related spending by their audiences).
Nationally, the industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity, supported 4.6 million jobs, and generated $27.5 billion in government revenue.
“Growing the economy has been a top priority for my administration, and supporting the arts and the creative sector is necessary to accomplish this,” said Governor Phil Scott. “Vermont’s creative economy helps drive our brand and has helped our state stand out. We must continue to support this sector to ensure Vermont continues to be the best state to live, work and play.”
The Vermont Arts Council is partnering with The Paramount Theatre in Rutland and Burlington City Arts to administer the study's field research.
"It's so imperative that arts organizations, such as Burlington City Arts have access to current audience metrics. This data not only allows us to measure our effectiveness and plan our programming accordingly, but likewise contributes to strengthening collaborations with local businesses for even greater economic impact," said
Doreen Kraft, executive director at Burlington City Arts.
“The creative economy nourishes not only the soul of communities like those found in Rutland County but helps build the financial foundation necessary for them to flourish,” said Eric Mallette, executive director of The Paramount Theatre. “We have long known, albeit somewhat anecdotally, that The Paramount’s impact on the local economy is meaningful. We are eager to finally be able to address this number rooted with fact backed by quantifiable data.”
In addition to audience surveys, Vermont’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations will also be surveyed. The survey will collect information about each organization's revenues, expenditures, physical (in-person) attendance, virtual attendance, staff size, and volunteers. It will also include a set of diversity and inclusion questions.
National and local findings will be made public in September 2023. At that time, the Vermont Arts Council will receive a customized report on the unique economic impact results for our state, including the number of jobs that are supported and the amount of government revenue generated by arts and culture nonprofits.
Vermont arts and culture organizations will be recruited throughout the rest of the year to participate in administering the surveys, which is as simple as signing up for one of six brief how-to webinars hosted by the Vermont Arts Council and sharing a QR code on an event program.
For more information, visit https://www.vermontartscouncil.org/programs/aep6
About the Vermont Arts Council
The Vermont Arts Council envisions a Vermont where all people have access to the arts and creativity in their lives, education, and communities. Engagement with the arts transforms individuals, connects us more deeply to each other, energizes the economy, and sustains the vibrant cultural landscape that makes Vermont a great place to live. Since 1965, the Council has been the state's primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts in Vermont. Learn more at www.vermontartscouncil.org