Nearly half-a-billion dollars – that’s what arts and culture organizations pump into Fort Worth’s economy.
The Arts Council of Fort Worth partnered with the group Americans for the Arts which studied 341 communities across the entire country – it’s the largest study of its kind.
Monday, KERA's Art & Seek attended one of the council’s public presentations. KERA is a media partner of the Star-Telegram.
The Arts Council of Fort Worth spent a year gathering data from local non-profits. More than 100 were contacted, 73 responded. And only non-profits were considered, not for-profit outfits such as design firms and art galleries. So the results don’t reflect the actual size of Fort Worth’s culture industry, which is considerably bigger.
But the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, as it’s called, does give a picture of the groups that most often receive city support – and what they contribute to Fort Worth in return.
According to the study, more than $26 million in revenue are generated for local government. When audience expenses and the groups’ own spending are added up, it comes to more than $450 million per year, nearly half-a-billion.
In addition, nearly 15,000 people have full-time jobs – that’s more than the entire workforce of Lockheed Martin, the city’s second-biggest employer.
“It’s amazing, the dollars the arts bring to this community,” says Karen Wiley, president of the Arts Council of Fort Worth. “So we do have a place at the table. And I think that as the Arts Council of Fort Worth, we can say we make a difference. We are providing so much great beauty and technology and education and history and talent.”
Wiley says the study has already been instrumental in formulating its own plans for the future.
This particular public presentation was one of four made by Randy Cohen, vice president of Research and Policy at Americans for Arts. Appropriately, it was held in Art7 Gallery. It’s located in that stretch of West 7th Street that has boomed the past five years with apartments, shops and restaurants. Essentially, developers spun off of the success and appeal of the city’s Culture District.
Fort Worth was only one of seven cities and cultural districts in North Texas that participated in Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 – the other cities were Dallas, Irving, Lewisville and Richardson. The study was released in June, and here are the stats and the context for North Texas’ results as a whole.