From the LA Times:
Nonprofit arts groups, including museums, orchestras, theaters and dance companies, contributed $166.2 billion and 5.7 million jobs to the U.S. economy in 2005, according to an advocacy group urging more funding for the arts.Talk amongst yourselves.
The numbers undercut a common belief that spending on arts and culture comes at the expense of economic development, said Randy Cohen, vice president of policy and research at Americans for the Arts, which released the report Tuesday.
"Support for the arts isn't a black hole," Cohen said. "Arts organizations are businesses. They pay people. They purchase supplies and services. They pay utility bills. That spending supports jobs and generates government revenue."
The group is pressing Congress for an almost 40% boost in funding to the National Endowment for the Arts to reverse a cut made by Republicans after they took over in 1995. Last month, the group released a report saying arts organizations are "at risk" due to a drop in corporate giving and lack of growth in giving by foundations and individuals.
Defending arts on economic terms is not a universally accepted approach. The Wallace Foundation, which aims to expand the demand and appreciation for the arts, commissioned a 2004 Rand Corp. study that questioned the strategy. It found most research efforts to tie arts to economic growth fail to prove cause-and-effect and obscure more basic reasons to support arts.