Arts and Economic Summit

Arts And Economic Summit Oct 17, 2017

2017 Arts and Economic Summit: The Arts Are Critical to Business and Prosperity

Not just food for the soul: Food for the table

Small investment: Large return



Oct 19, 2017—Escondido, CA     A partnership between North County Arts Network (NCAN) and San Diego North Economic Development (SDNEDC) brought together a near-capacity crowd representing more than 200 arts, civic and business  organizations to reveal a powerful report with statistics that clearly change the conversation about the arts from that of a “charity” to one about an “industry” that provides both cultural and economic benefits to the community. The event took place on Tuesday, October 17, at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

Mike Cully, CEO of SDNEDC welcomed attendees stating that “the arts are the soul of a community” and, from an economic development perspective, business and the arts is a natural partnership, adding that a rich cultural community can make the difference in attracting businesses. Cully introduced John Eger, Director of the Creative Economy Initiative at San Diego State University, who emphasized that, with the advances in technology, the integration of the arts is critical to our very survival. Eger then introduced keynote speaker Randy Cohen.

VP of Research and Policy at Americans for the Arts, Cohen publishes the premier economic studies of the arts industries. Statistics from the 2016 Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study (AEP5) prove that the nonprofit arts and culture industry is an economic driver that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism. Nonprofit arts and culture organizations in San Diego generate $1.1 billion a year in the local economy and create more than 35,000 jobs. Cohen emphasized how a cultural night out spills over into a multitude of industries, for example, from e-commerce promotions to the food and hotel industries.

John Eger then introduced a panel of local business leaders. GM at Legoland Peter Ronchetti spoke about inspiring families and pushing the creative limits at Legoland. David Malmuth, Co-developer of I.D.E.A. Cultural District talked about the creativity they have brought to San Diego’s East Village. Third panelist Susan Bruinzeel, Sr. Director of Planning and Research for the San Diego Tourism Authority had statistics that show tourists who come for arts and cultural events spend much more than other tourists.

Perhaps the most poignant question posed to summit panelists was: “what steps can we take, as members of the arts community, to move our community, even our country towards one where the arts are understood and valued on all levels as an essential piece of prosperity? “Buy Art!,” was David Malmuth’s immediate response, followed by “invest in creating a more artful San Diego,” and “elect leaders that understand the importance of the arts.” Cohen stressed to start by educating every one of our Senators about the economic benefits of the arts.

The AEP5 study revealed that eighty-two percent of Americans believe that arts and culture are important to local business and the economy. The numbers are powerful and delivering a clear and welcome message is vital:  “the arts are an investment that delivers both community well-being and economic vitality.”

9,266 San Diego businesses are arts related, employing more than 37,000. In addition, 72 percent of business leaders declare creativity to be among the top skills most sought after when hiring because those with the ability to listen, be creative, empathize, and develop a vision are essential to their future.

NCAN is the organization working to bring performing and visual arts communities together with business to achieve a stronger arts presence in North County. Events can now be listed on their new website: Watch for upcoming promotions and networking events.

* U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Missed the summit? Watch the videos prepared by Sidney Wildesmith

NCAN Arts Economic Summit / Opening / Naomi Nussbaum

NCAN Arts Economic Summit / Welcome / Mike Cully

NCAN Arts and Economic Summit / Introduction / John Eger

NCAN Arts Economic Summit / Keynote Part 1 / Randy Cohen

NCAN Arts Economic Summit / Panelist / Peter Ronchetti

NCAN Arts Economic Summit / Panelist / Susan Brunzeel

NCAN Arts and Economic Summit / Panelist / David Malmuth

NCAN Arts Economic Summit / The Dance Performance

NCAN Arts Economic Summit / Keynote Part 2 / Randy Cohen

NCAN Arts Economic Summit / Questions and Answers Session


KPBS covered this event with an article and video (around the 8:10 mark). Our thanks to  Alison St John 

SAN DIEGO ARTS & CULTURE FACT SHEET – Smart to Invest in the Arts
San Diego Now generates approx.. $1.1 BILLION in Arts and Cultures revenues
Industry leaders from Fortune 500 companies, and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) judged San Diego to be the only North American city worthy of the Business Destinations Travel Award in 2013. This is not just because of our facilities and weather but also references the active creative communities of our region.

According to Americans for the Arts, 4.3% of our GDP is derived from the arts, which is more than tourism, more than transportation, more than agriculture. Arts events affect communities positively by attracting cultural tourist who spend more per day and stay longer than other tourists. People who come to these events get an authentic cultural experience, the community is helped in branding itself and all  this works to build a stronger local economy. California is rated number one in the USA as the top cultural economy, but only 44th in how much funding is has to support this industry. Arts engage 95% of the population in the USA and the economic growth potential is unlimited. In 2014, cultural art attendance by these visitors was up 3.4%. where general attraction attendance was down 2.7%.

Of the more than $10 million in discretionary funds that the 5 county supervisors have to support non-profits in San Diego County through the Community Enhancement Program (CEP) and the Neighborhood Re-investment Program (NRP) roughly $1,303,000 is spent on non-profits arts organizations.

The following list of statistics* might be helpful at looking at the scope of the arts industry for the City of SD,

  • 35,914 Total Full-time Employees Supported by Arts and Culture Organizations
  • $553,563,393 Estimated Spending by Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Organizations
  • $546,370,965 Estimated Spending by Cultural Audiences
  • $1,099,934,358 Total Spending by the Nonprofit Arts and Culture INDUSTRY
  • 33+ million visitors come to San Diego 16+ million booked hotel nights, and $9+ billion in visitor spend.
  • 6 Million Tourists Visit Arts and Culture Attractions and Businesses
  • Cultural tourist average stay 3.8 Days spending $561.00 1 for 8 Days $47 per day, not including the cost of the art event attending
  • $894,406,000 Residential House hold income generated
  • $48,122,000 Local Government income generated
  • $67,871,000 State Government income generated.
  • 2,644 school and community group visits
  • 298,171 people served through school and community group visits
  • 44 neighborhood events supported by Creative Communities funding program
  • 13,426 volunteers & 1,450 board members
  • $3.1 Million Amount of Federal, State, County and Tribal Government funds received to match the City of San Diego’s funds
  • Projections for a fully invested Penny for the Arts program would escalate from almost $7 ½ million in 2013 to $18 million by 2017
    *City of San Diego Commission for Arts statistics

The following are national statistics* for the arts and they are up in all areas from the previous year

  • $63.9 billion spending by non-profit arts and cultural organizations
  • $102.5 billion spending by arts and culture audiences
  • $166.3 billion total spending by arts and culture industries
  • 4.6 million total full time equivalent jobs supported
  • $96.07 billion resident household income generated
  • $27.5 billion local and state and federal government income generated from an investment of only about $5 billion
    *Arts and Economic Prosperity V Study Region by American for the Art 

Prepared by Naomi Nussbaum, Synergy Art Foundation and Patricia Frischer, San Diego Visual Arts Network