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Every corner of the state benefits from arts sector


A new study on the health and impact of arts was released by the Minnesota Citizens for the Art last week.

The “Creative Minnesota” report is the first in an ongoing series of biennial reports.

MCA says it’s “the most comprehensive report ever done of the nonprofit creative sector,” reflecting a “new effort to fill the gaps in available information about Minnesota’s cultural field and to improve our understanding of its importance to our quality of life and economy.

“It kicks off a new centralized, concentrated and long-term endeavor to collect and report data on the creative sector every two years for analysis, education and advocacy.”

The study surveyed 1,269 arts organizations throughout the state’s 11 regional arts councils, gathering information about jobs created, attendee spending, budgets, services to students and artist employment levels.

Nonprofit and culture organizations provided detailed financial and event attendance information for this report.

Study participants from the Region 2 Arts Council included Bemidji Community Theater, Blank Canvas Gallery, the City of Park Rapids, Heartland Concert Association, Jackpine Writers Bloc, Nemeth Art Center, Northern Light Opera Company, Park Rapids Area Community Band, Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council, Paul Bunyan Playhouse and the Red Bridge Film Festival, among others.

Local impact of the arts

Minnesota’s 11 regional arts councils work with the State Arts Board by providing services, training and grants. Each regional arts council serves between five and 18 counties.

The Region 2 Arts Council includes Beltrami, Hubbard, Clearwater, Lake of the Woods and Mahnomen counties.

According to the report, our region benefits from over $3 million dollars in economic impact from the nonprofit arts and culture sector.

Total direct expenditures by arts organizations was over $1.6 million. Spending by audiences was more than $1.4 million.

The total audience in 2013 was 68,457 people. Eighty-one percent of this region‘s audiences were local people attending an event in the same region where they live.

A majority of the audience spent an average of $20.42 above the cost of their ticket. Non-local audience members spend an average of $22.35 per person.

Seventy-five percent of the non-resident survey respondents reported that the primary reason for their trip was “specifically to attend this arts/cultural event,” bringing dollars to the region that wouldn’t have otherwise been spent.

Robust arts economy

In 2013, nonprofit arts organizations generated state and local government revenues of $127 million dollars.

“Public investment in arts and culture is a catalyst that increases government revenues,” according to the report.

Every $1 in state investment is matched by over $5 from other sources, such as city, county, federal or tribal support; earned income from tickets sales, admission fees, memberships; and donations from individuals, foundations, businesses or other sources.

It also provided nearly $1.2 billion in total economic impact, either through direct expenditures by the organizations themselves ($696 million) or by spending by audiences ($501 million).

Nearly 19 million people attend arts events annually. Minnnesota’s 2013 population is 5.4 million, so people are attending multiple times.

The average attendee spends $20.48 per person, excluding the cost of the ticket.

Forty-three percent of attendees have an annual household income of under $60,000 per year.

More than 2.6 million K-12 students were served by the arts and culture sector through classes, workshop, lectures and readings.

The sector also supported more than 33,000 full-time jobs, “helping our state retain talent and allowing many Minnesotans to support their families,” said the report.

Minnesota surpasses the U.S. level of artists in the workforce, with over 42,000 artists or 1.5 percent of the Minnesota workforce.

Minnesota also has the highest employment concentration in book publishing in the country, 5.2 times the national average.

According to MCA, the “Creative Minnesota” report “leverages new opportunities for in-depth research provided by Minnesota’s participation in the Cultural Data Project. Many public and private grantmakers in Minnesota require some or all of their grantees to submit data to the CDP.”

The report was developed in partnership with The McKnight Foundation, Target, Bush Foundation, Mardag Foundation, Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Boards, Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society and Ideas That Kick.

Americans for the Arts was commissioned to calculate the economic impact of the arts.

The full report can be downloaded at