Just 21 percent of all arts and culture organizations in New Hampshire create a total of $115 million in economic activity in the state.
That’s according to a report released today by the N.H. State Council on the Arts. Those 161 organizations support the equivalent of 3,493 full-time jobs, and generate $11.6 million in local and state government revenue. The study did not include for-profit institutions or individual artists, and it did not multiply results to account for the 773 nonprofit arts organizations that did not participate in the study.
Arts and culture organizations represent less than 1 percent of the state’s GDP, New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies’ Steve Norton points out, but studies like this one have shown “that they play a larger role when you think about indirect impact.”
Norton is referring to the way spending on the arts is retained in a local economy. According to the report, people who attend arts events in New Hampshire spend an
average of $22.31 “per person, per event as a direct result of their attendance to the event,” not including ticket sales.
The report also tracks how those funds are re-spent, with something called “input-output analysis,” which the authors explain:
A theater company in the State of New Hampshire purchases several gallons of paint from a local hardware store for $200. The hardware store then uses a portion of the $200 to pay the sales clerk; the sales clerk respends some of the money at a grocery store; the grocery store uses some to pay its cashier; the cashier spends some on rent; and so on …
There are indirect impacts, as well. Steve Norton points to a comment by an executive at the Manchester tech company, Dyn Inc, who has said that access to the arts is “one of the top two reasons why he can or cannot retain employees.”
This study marks the first time the trickle-down effect of arts spending has been documented in the state, and is an important first step in understanding the economic impacts of arts and culture in New Hampshire.
Last spring, two House bills were introduced that would have abolished the Department of Cultural Resources and the New Hampshire Council on the Arts, making it impossible for the state to receive funds from the federal government. Nikki Clarke, Executive Director of the Capitol Center for the Arts, worked with the arts community to amend the bills, retaining the Department of Cultural Resources and State Arts Fund. But the issue is bound to come up again. And when it does, this report will help Clarke communicate not only the “intrinsic value of engaging in the arts,” but “its effect on Main Street,” as well.
Previously, Clarke has been able to point to the 14.3 full time employees under her management. But using a digital calculator embedded in the report, she found her organization is in fact supports the equivalent of 92 full time jobs in New Hampshire. That kind of information will help her maintain not only state funding, but all of the support her organization receives from the private sector, too.