NW Ohio arts major boost to economy, study finds

A press release by BGSU

Arts, culture industries play notable role in Ohio economy

BOWLING GREEN, O.-The arts are big business in Ohio, a comprehensive economic impact study of arts and culture industries in the state has found.

Those industries generate more than $25 billion in economic activity in Ohio per year, according to the study by Dr. Michael Carroll, an economist and director of Bowling Green State University's Center for Regional Development (CRD). They also help produce nearly $2.84 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue, and support more than 231,000 jobs.

The results of the study, titled "Ohio's Arts: A Foundation of Innovation, Creativity and Economic Strength," were announced April 1 by the nonprofit Ohio Citizens for the Arts.

The findings are relevant, Carroll said, "because there is a growing body of research that shows a thriving arts community is crucial for the health and vitality of regions. The quality of life within a region, of which the arts are an essential component, is inextricably linked to a firm's decision about location. If Ohio hopes to secure a vibrant economic future, a quantifiable measure of arts activities is needed to retain and recruit companies within the state."

Annually in Ohio, his report indicated, arts and creative industries:

  • Generate $1.78 billion in federal tax revenue.
  • Generate $1.06 billion in state and local tax revenues.
  • Support 231,200 jobs.

Much has been written about which industries should be labeled "creative." To simplify the analysis and give the study a sense of continuity, the industries selected are those identified by Americans for the Arts, a national research and advocacy group for the arts.

The industries generally fall into six main categories

  • Museums and Collections
  • Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts/Photography
  • Film, Radio and Television
  • Design and Publishing
  • Schools and Services.

The CRD used conservative methods in conducting the study. Data came from government databases of audited financial materials such as IMPLAN, an economic impact modeling system; the Consumer Expenditure Survey; the Department of Commerce, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because such methods were used, the actual economic impact of the arts is potentially greater than the reported figures.  

The study is an extension of "Arts and Economic Prosperity: Economic Impact of Creative Industries in Northwest Ohio," a report compiled by the CRD at the request of the Northwest Ohio Arts Exchange, exploring the impact of the arts and creative industries on northwest Ohio. That report was released in October 2007 at an event featuring Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland and attended by hundreds of arts educators, administrators and advocates.

The statewide study results were announced as part of Arts Day events Wednesday in Columbus. Arts Day was created to foster a greater awareness of the arts' value in Ohio. Activities include an arts advocacy briefing, legislative visits, Statehouse tours, and student exhibitions and performances, as well as the annual Governor's Awards for the Arts ceremony and Arts Day luncheon.  

The project partners agree that the study will raise awareness and increase recognition of the value of the arts in Ohio, and provide positive recognition for the state as a whole, emphasizing Ohio as a vibrant center of art, design, culture and entertainment-in short, a creative state.

"The creative industries," according to Americans for the Arts, "are the high-octane fuel that drives the ‘information economy,' the fastest growing segment of the nation's economy."

Adds the National Governors' Association, in its report on the role of the arts in economic development: "Cultural activities attract tourists and spur the creation of ancillary activities such as restaurants, hotels and the services needed to support them. Cultural facilities and events enhance property values, tax resources and overall profitability for communities. In doing so, the arts become a direct contributor to urban and rural revitalization."

The Center for Regional Development is a chartered, interdisciplinary research center at BGSU. Its mission is to design and implement innovative and pragmatic solutions to a variety of regional challenges, focusing on enhancing community and regional economic development in a 27-county area.

Ohio Citizens for the Arts, established in 1976, works to increase public support for the arts in Ohio, while the Northwest Ohio Arts Exchange, founded at BGSU in 2003, is a group of artists and arts educators, administrators and supporters who are dedicated to fostering the growth and development of northwest Ohio's arts community.