Study details economic impact of arts and culture in Northwest Arkansas

According to a new study released on Wednesday, the arts and culture industry has a $46 million annual economic impact on the Northwest Arkansas region.

The study, conducted by Americans for the Arts, and paid for by the Walton Arts Center, the NWA Council and the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce, found that Northwest Arkansas’ non-profit arts and culture organizations support 1,488 local full-time equivalent jobs, generate $4 million in government revenue, and are a primary driver of tourism to Northwest Arkansas.

“We’ve always known the arts add to our quality of life, but these findings tell the story about how a vibrant arts community stimulates the local economy,” said Walton Arts Center president Peter Lane. “Arts and culture is a growth industry in Northwest Arkansas proven through the arrival of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the vision to expand Walton Arts Center, Rogers Historical Museum, Children’s Museum of Northwest Arkansas and other cultural institutions. Adding arts and culture in our region creates more jobs, attracts more tourists and pumps more revenue back into our local economy.”

The number of jobs, revenue and total impact nearly tripled since the study was last conducted in 2005. And when compared to figures from regions of similar population size, the impact of arts and culture in Northwest Arkansas is well above average.

According to the findings, arts audiences spend an average of $20 above the cost of a ticket when they attend an arts and cultural event, while tourists in town for an arts-related event spend an additional $36.

The study also found that 76 percent of tourists surveyed at an arts activity said their trip was made specifically to attend the arts or cultural event.

Similar studies were conducted by Americans for the Arts in 182 communities around the country. The local study included input from 25 area nonprofit arts and culture organizations, including Arkansas Air Museum, Arkansas Country Doctor Museum, Art Amiss, Arts Center of the Ozarks, Arts Live Theatre, Benton County School of the Arts, Clinton House Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Downtown Bentonville, Inc., Live on Stage in NWA, North Arkansas Jazz Society, Northwest Arkansas Community Creative Center, The Peel Compton Foundation, Rogers Historical Museum / Hawkins House, Rogers Little Theater, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, Sugar Creek Model Railroad and Historical Society, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, TheatreSquared, Tricycle Theater for Youth (Trike Theater), UA Boston Mountain Brassworks, UA Fine Arts Center Gallery, University Theatre, UA Department of Drama and Walton Arts Center.

Download the full study results