The arts are an economic driver. According to the Arts & Economic Prosperity study, released by Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion of economic activity during 2015, which comprised $63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $102.5 billion in audience spending.
The arts are also a business. Americans for the Arts’ Creative Industries report shows that 673,656 businesses are involved in the creation or distribution of the arts and these businesses employ 3.48 million people. To put that in perspective, that is 4.01 percent of all U.S. businesses and 2.04 percent of all U.S. employees.
Businesses are taking note. In the survey Business Contributions to the Arts, produced by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts, 67 percent of business leaders say they support the arts because they improve the economy and quality of life.
BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts honoree Guitar Center Inc. is one of those businesses. With 280 stores across the country, Guitar Center is the world’s largest seller of musical instruments, stage lighting, recording software, studio gear and more. The company embraces its role in both the arts and business sectors by supporting music education and musicians. Guitar Center’s support of music education makes it the largest source of music education outside the school system by providing lessons to over 100,000 students annually. Research from the Conference Board shows that a background in arts education provides the skills required by the 21st century workforce. The company also supports the artistic talents of its employees by providing discounts on gear and “Gig Leave,” so employees can go on music tours. Company sponsored “Jam Nights” at local venues give employees the opportunity to perform with coworkers for their families and friends. Guitar Center both supports the arts and employs artists.
The award-winning partnership between the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and clothing retailer UNIQLO shows how partnering with the arts can provide economic impact. UNIQLO’s flagship store occupies a prominent corner on Fifth Avenue in New York City, just across the street from MoMA. Since 2013, UNIQLO and MoMA have partnered to bring more than 1.6 million New Yorkers and visitors from around the world to MoMA through UNIQLO’s sponsorship of Free Friday Nights at the museum. The partnership enhances both organizations’ brands and fuels traffic across Manhattan’s 53rd Street.
These partnerships demonstrate what the businesses in our survey know: supporting the arts enhances the community, stimulates the economy, engages employees and provides the training needed for the future workforce.
Originally published on Giving Thoughts blog.