The economic impact of local arts and culture in Concord

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Every five years, Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Americans for the Arts works with communities nationwide to conduct a detailed survey of nonprofit cultural institutions and their impact on the local economy. It measures each participating organization by its individual impact (total spending, payroll, etc.) and uses audience surveys collected from people attending nonprofit cultural events (concerts, plays, presentations) to measure attendee spending on things like dining, shopping, transportation and hotels.

Greater Concord is one of four New Hampshire communities that participated in the 2016 survey. The numbers are impressive and support what Creative Concord, the Chamber’s standing committee to advance the creative economy, already knew: the creative sector is one of the fastest-growing segments of our local and regional economy.

Our local nonprofit cultural organizations generate $31.2 million in total economic activity each year, an increase of $13.5 million in just five years. Arts and cultural organizations themselves generate $17.8 million annually, and event-related spending by attendees (many from out-of-state) generates an additional $13.4 million. These organizations support more than 960 jobs, generating $22.4 million in household income to local residents. The annual impact to local and state government revenue is $2.8 million.

These numbers compare very favorably to similarly sized participating communities, as well as to the national median. It is important to recognize that the survey included nonprofit cultural organizations only, so the total economic impact of all cultural organizations (for profit and nonprofit) is likely much higher. The numbers also show a significant increase across the board from the last time we participated. Any way you slice it, arts and culture is a crucial contributor to our quality of life! Look for the full report at concordnhchamber.com/about-us/creative-concord.

Tim Sink is the President of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce and staff liaison for the Chamber's Creative Concord committee.

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