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  • Writer's pictureElisabeth Gasparka

The Connection Between the Arts and Economic Prosperity

“When we invest in the arts, those dollars aren’t just disappearing down some black hole of goodness. It’s giving back to the community and government to help pay for its needed services. There’s undercapitalization happening here. It’s just hard to imagine how much more arts and culture activity and impact and benefit to local businesses would be happening with greater investment.” - Randy Cohen, Americans for the Arts.

In this episode of Creative MKE, Elisabeth and Adam speak with Randy Cohen from Americans for the Arts about the Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 Study. Last year, Imagine MKE collaborated with Americans for the Arts to conduct this audience intercept survey in Milwaukee to learn about their induced and direct spending in relationship to arts and culture nonprofit events.


Randy Cohen of Americans for the Arts joins Imagine MKE to discuss Milwaukee's AEP6 results
Randy Cohen — Vice President of Research at Americans for the Arts (source: Americans for the Arts)

Additionally, another survey was shared with hundreds of arts nonprofit organizations—large and small—to learn about their own economic activity, including employment figures. Nearly 100 arts orgs participated, and the results showed Milwaukee to be massively benefiting from jobs, spending, and tax revenue generated through the work of art nonprofits.


Milwaukee's arts and culture nonprofits have a significant impact on our local economy
The economic impact of Milwaukee's nonprofit arts and culture sector in 2022 (source: Americans for the Arts)

The group discuss how this hallmark arts and economic study has changed over the years to become much more inclusive and to center diverse communities, the dire lack of investment for the arts in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin, and the qualitative and quantitive impact of the arts on individuals and communities.


 

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