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North Texas Arts Groups Added $3 Billion to Region's Economy Over Past 3 Years

by Stephen Becker 30 Jul 2010 1:08 PM

The Business Council for the Arts released the study Friday. And those who compiled it consider the numbers conservative.


The Business Council for the Arts released a study Friday that says North Texas nonprofit arts and cultural organizations contributed more than $3 billion to the region’s economy over the last three years. In each of the past three years, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations have added about a billion dollars to the region’s economy.

“What we want people to take away is that arts and culture enrich our lives in ways we can’t even sometimes speak about. And at the same time, they’re really important economic drivers,” said Katherine Wagner, the CEO of Business Council for the Arts, which worked with auditing firm Deloitte to compile the data. “All of these plethora of arts agencies that exist in North Texas employ people, buy products, build buildings – and all of that helps to drive this economy.”

Money spent on construction significantly impacted the study. Last year alone, $325 million was spent on construction, much of it to build the AT&T Performing Arts Center. With the arts center built, it is unlikely that the coming years will benefit as much from those construction dollars. Too offset that loss, the Business Council’s Wagner says that audience building will be a major focus going forward. Audiences spent about 10 percent less on the arts last year than in 2008.

The financial findings of the study were called conservative by representatives from Deloitte. That’s because of the 540 organizations who were asked to participate, only 87 did. The study didn’t try to account for the impact of the nonresponding groups, so the actual figure is likely higher.

A copy of the study is posted to the Business Council’s Web site.