Economic Impact of Western New York's Not-for-Profit Cultural Industry
The not-for-profit cultural sector in Western New York is the subject of many accolades, the producer of many accomplishments, and a key contributor to the region’s resurgence. These things are well-known, yet every once in a while we need to quantify our impact, and so you have before you an economic impact report of both the organizations themselves and their audiences.
A bit of context is important with any report like this. The years focused on are 2009-2013; this was a time period during and immediately following not only a period of economic concern in the community, but also a severe cut in public funding in Erie County. With that in mind, it is easy to understand that many organizations had to cut back in staff and spending. Yet it is also important to note that artistic accomplishment – judged both in total output and quality – remained as high as always and even grew. Further, audience spending was strong. Simply put, the not-for-profit cultural sector showed its resiliency and strength, and the audiences responded.
While you will read of the impact of the 105 organizations included, it’s also worth noting what’s not included. The many for-profit organizations from concert venues to the creative industries are not part of this study, nor is the economic impact from touring productions (the spending of those in the productions, which is distinct from those of the venue or audience).
Finally, while quantifying the economic impact of arts and culture is certainly important, it is only one of the many impacts of the sector, including: Tourism;
- National and International Recognition;
- Business and Employee Attraction;
- Health and Human Services;
- Veterans Services;
- History and Heritage; and
- Service to the Community.
No other sector offers all these impacts, and perhaps most importantly serves to inspire those who enjoy it while reflecting the culture of the people and places of our region. That’s the true impact of arts and culture; but for now, the numbers…
Tod A. Kniazuk
Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, Inc.