Study Shows the Arts Fuel Greater Portland Economy

June 6, 2007, PORTLAND, Ore. – Nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the Portland metro Studio Art Directarea do more than enrich our lives and imaginations – they also help fuel the region’s economic engine.

According to a new national study, 111 arts and culture organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties collectively generated more than $318 million in local economic activity and supported more than 10,300 local, full-time equivalent jobs in fiscal year 2006.

Those organizations pumped over $166 million directly into the local economy in the form of employee wages, purchase of supplies and services, and acquisition of assets. Their audiences generated another

$151 million of commerce with restaurant, hotel, parking and other expenditures related to attending arts or cultural events (not counting ticket purchases).

“This study offers compelling new evidence that nonprofit arts and culture organizations constitute an important industry which helps drive the local economy,” said Mark Edlen, principal, Gerding Edlen Development. “The vibrant arts and culture industry in this community has always been appreciated for contributing to our quality of life and regional creativity. Clearly, it also should be appreciated for generating jobs and income for businesses and individuals, and thereby delivering local and state government revenues to fund a variety of programs and services for Oregonians.”

Details of the study, prepared by Americans for the Arts, were released today by the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Northwest Business for Culture & the Arts. Other findings from the report include:

·Economic activity generated by the 111 nonprofit organizations in 2006 produced $206 million in personal or business income, from which state and local governments collected more than $27 million in taxes and fees.

·The three counties, City of Portland and Metro invested a total of $4.2 million in nonprofit arts and culture in FY 2006. The $27 million they collected in taxes and fees (see above) represents a 3:1 return on investment.

·Arts and culture organizations are key contributors to tourism. In addition to the purchase of tickets and admissions, visitors spent an average of $38.53 on event-related purchases in 2006. (Local residents spent an average of $19.62 per event they attended.) About 25 percent of the 6.2 million people who attended local nonprofit arts or culture events in 2006 came from outside the local area.

·Because arts and culture organizations are strongly rooted in their community, the jobs they create or support remain local and cannot be exported.

Findings from the study have resonated with business and community leaders focused on building a competitive environment that attracts vibrant businesses and skilled workers who will contribute to a healthy local economy.

“With its analytic approach and focus on measurable results, this study provides important, credible information about one means of increasing the economic vitality of our community,” said Judy Peppler, president of Qwest Oregon and chair of the Portland Business Alliance.

“Our regional business plan calls for capitalizing on our distinctive economic assets. Supporting the nonprofit arts and culture industry is one effective way to do that.”

According to Portland city commissioner Sam Adams, the study adds to the evidence that the arts feed the local economy. “As we identify strategies to enhance economic development, we can’t afford to ignore what the numbers are telling us,” he said. “The arts mean business.”

About the study

The tri-county Portland metropolitan area was one of 156 communities that participated in Arts & Economic Prosperity III, the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted. Experts analyzed detailed 2005 expenditure data from 111 Portland area nonprofit arts and culture organizations with annual budgets ranging from $155 to more than $21 million. Expenditure data also was collected from 905 individuals who attended local arts performances or culture events. Analysts applied a sophisticated input-output model, customized for each community, to arrive at reliable, realistic estimates of economic impact.

About the organizations

Americans for the Arts, established in 1960, is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council is the local arts agency for the Portland metropolitan area including Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. RACC provides grants and technical assistance to local artists and arts organizations, manages city and county public art programs, and conducts advocacy and development programs in the region.

Northwest Business for Culture & the Arts is a business organization that seeks to dramatically increase public and private support for the arts, heritage and humanities in Oregon. It is an affiliate of the national Business Committee for the Arts, Inc.

For more details :  A copy of the Arts & Economic Prosperity III report for the Portland metro area is available at The full national report on 156 communities across the country is available at Christine D’Arcy, Executive Director, Oregon Arts Commission – Oregon Cultural Trust

Be a CHAMP for Culture.   Make a gift to any Oregon cultural nonprofit, then make a gift to the Cultural Trust. Do both before June 30. You’ll qualify for a cultural tax credit – and add to the funds the Cultural Trust will grant this summer. Donate or learn more at

Support visual arts.   Lease or purchase original and reproduction works of art created by local artists. Visit to learn more


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