National Study Shows Savannah’s Arts and Culture Industry Generates $135.9 Million In Economic Activity

The nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $135,939,836 in annual economic activity in the greater Savannah area— supporting 4,548 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $14,711,000 in local and state government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study. The most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. The City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs worked with 45 local nonprofit arts and cultural organizations to collect data to complete the study.

Results show that Savannah’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $34,799,185 during fiscal year 2015. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within our community. Those dollars, in turn, generated $26,472,000 in household income for local residents and $2,495,000 in local and state government revenues.

“This vital study highlights the arts’ intrinsic value to our community. By investigating how our community’s engagement in artistic and cultural activities impacts the Savannah economy, we can strategically plan for the future of Savannah’s creative sector,” stated Linda Evans, Chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission.

Nationwide, the Arts & Economic Prosperity

5 reveals that the nonprofit arts industry produces $166.3 billion in economic activity every year, resulting in $27.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues. In addition, it supports 4.6 million full-time equivalent jobs and generates $96.07 billion in household income.

“This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live. Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”

Arts Industry Boon for Local Businesses

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages $101,140,651 in event-related spending by its audiences. As a result of attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. What’s more, attendees from out of town often stay overnight in a local hotel. In the greater Savannah area, these dollars support 2,878 full-time equivalent jobs and generate $12,216,000 in local and state government revenues.

“Savannah is a unique place where the arts are integral to the community’s character,” stated Rob Hernandez, City Manager of Savannah. “The arts and humanities move beyond an economic multiplier and encompass our diverse community that attracts millions of visitors and new businesses. While this study shows the arts’ economic value to Savannah, it also reinforces our commitment to crafting a higher quality of life for our citizens through the arts.”

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. Financial information from organizations was collected in partnership with DataArts™, using a new online survey interface. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, visit 5Partners. More information on the City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs’ reports can be found at

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