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The Arts Mean Business in Portage County

By Portage County Business Council

There are several $3M industries located in Portage County, Wisconsin. Although the arts and culture sector may not be the first that comes to your mind, the arts mean business. In 2009 the Arts Alliance of Portage County in partnership with Americans for the Arts and the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point published Arts & Economic Propserity III, an economic impact study of the non-profit arts and culture organizations in the Portage County area. The results offer a new perspective on the value of arts and culture;

• Non-profit arts and Culture sector is a $3,255,400 Industry
• Supports 86 Full-Time Equivalent Jobs
• Generates $94,000 in Local tax revenue
• Generates $256,000 in State tax revenue

The impact and leverage of these organizations increases when one looks at the spending habits of those attending performances. On average, a person attending an arts and culture event in Portage County spent $20.61 over and above the cost of their admission. The survey concluded that there are approximately 200,000 such event goers annual in Portage County resulting in an additional $4M of local economic activity.

This study demonstrates that communities which support arts and culture are investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue and is a cornerstone of tourism. Something we can all agree is good for our regional economic stability and community development.

For a more detailed view of the results of Arts & Economic Prosperity III study contact:

Otis McLennon
Executive Director
Arts Alliance of Portage County

*The above figures deliberatly exclude the impact of the budgets of various art programs at UW- Stevens Point. That impact would increase most of the reported figures by over nine fold, rendering the value of the arts and culture industry in Portage County equal to $12.2 million. UWSP’s impact was withheld to provide a clear picture of the size and econimic impact of the non-profit, community based arts and culture industry.