Once every five years, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council partners with Americans for the Arts to conduct Arts & Economic Prosperity, an economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in the Lehigh Valley. The results of this research clearly demonstrates that the arts mean big business in the region.
Lehigh Valley Arts = Business & Jobs
- The 2012 economic impact study of the region’s nonprofit arts industry revealed a $208 million industry—one that provides 7,114 full-time jobs and generates $21 million in state and local taxes annually.
- The creative industries number 1,405 nonprofit and for-profit businesses and employ 7,714 employees – comprising 3.8% of all businesses and 2.3% of all employees in the region.
|Date of Report||2003||2007||2012|
|ATTENDANCE: RESIDENTS / NONRESIDENTS||2.25M / 1.2M||2.6M / 1.1M||3.35M / 1.68M|
|STUDY||Arts & Economic Prosperity II||Arts & Economic Prosperity III||Arts & Economic Prosperity IV|
|# OF PARTICIPANTS||76||88||91|
|LOCAL GOV’T REVENUE||$2.7M||$6.8M||$8.2M|
|STATE GOV’T REVENUE||$7.6M||$11.1M||$13.1M|
Whose Business is the Arts?
The fourth Whose Business is the Arts? public forum took place on June 7, 2012, to release the results of the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV and examine its relevance to the local economy.
The goal of the event was to stimulate a dialogue to promote sustainability and entrepreneurship in the nonprofit arts sector, bringing together business executives, corporate contributors, artists, arts administrators, foundation representatives, board members, and government officials.
In January 2016, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council will once again embark on this eighteen month research study and continue to chart the region’s growth. The subsequent public forum, Whose Business is the Arts?, will be held in Spring 2017 to release the results and compare them to national trends.
According to U.S. Census data estimates from 2012, the number of non-institutionalized people with disabilities living in the Lehigh Valley is 81,000, or 12.7%, which represents a significant number of potential new audiences for the cultural community.
Since 2013, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council has been collaborating with the Lehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community to present Arts & Access, a yearlong celebration commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act through the lens of the arts.
In preparation for the celebration, the Arts Council and the Partnership conducted an audit of current accessibility practices in the region in 2014. The results showed a significant need to provide training to cultural organizations and build more awareness of the challenges and barriers that exist for people with disabilities to participate in cultural events.
The surveys indicate that less than 13% of the cultural groups offer open captioning, sign language interpreters, audio description, and Braille printed materials. Only 16.7% offer large print brochures; and 29% offer assistive listening devices.
Arts & Access evolved from the work in the field and the relationships that both the Arts Council and the Partnership have nurtured to create a more inclusive region. The existing infrastructure, the power of the arts to bring people together, and the upcoming 25th Anniversary of ADA—all of these factors support the timing of this endeavor.
GOALS of Arts & Access:
- Expand cultural access to all people with disabilities;
- Help cultural Nonprofits build audiences for their events; and
- Promote the benefits of inclusion by telling the stories of how engagement in the arts is transformative.