Allegheny County was one of 182 regions examined in the Americans for the Arts’ Arts and Economic Prosperity IV project.
When looking at cities of comparable size that were also in the study including Columbus, Ohio, San Diego and Indianapolis, Pittsburgh came out on top with expenditures topping $686 million in 2010. But, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council said the impact is even greater and stretches beyond just arts and culture.
“There’s a lot of expenditures by our arts and cultural organizations that then flow into the general economy which leads to new jobs,” said Research and Policy Director David Pankratz, “and one of the interesting findings is that these are not necessarily jobs in arts and culture.”
The study found that four out of five jobs generated by arts and culture are in other industries.
“Arts and culture organizations need contractors and painters and financial advisers and accountants and all the activities that these organizations do does have ripple effects for the general economy,” Pankratz said. “When you do that then there’s tax revenues and wages that are generated.”
Overall, Pankratz said the economic impact of the arts in the Pittsburgh region is around $1.17 billion annually.
“That translates in terms of jobs, over 20,500 jobs annually, generates $410 million in resident household income and then $74 million in tax revenues,” he said.
The tax revenue comes from patrons who don’t stop spending after they buy tickets to whichever event or events they are attending, they continue to pump money into the local economy.
“Everything from meals to local transportation, refreshments while there, in the case of visitors — overnight lodging, souvenirs, child care, those kinds of things,” Pankratz said.
The report published in Pittsburgh Today stated that patrons in Allegheny County spend an average of $21.44 per person above and beyond the cost of a ticket. While Pittsburgh topped the list of similar-sized cities, Pankratz said it also did very well when compared to larger cities such as Chicago, Miami, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.