TAVARES — The nonprofit arts and culture industry generated more than $9.1 million in annual economic activity in Lake County—supporting more than 200 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $380,000 in local revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study.
Conducted by Americans for the Arts, Lake County participated in what’s described as the most comprehensive study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever in the United States. In late 2015, The Lake County Arts & Cultural Alliance (ACA), which advises the Board of County Commissioners on arts and cultural affairs, signed onto study and began handing out surveys asking attendees how much money they spent on items such as meals, transportation, and retail shopping as a result of attending an event. Several local organizations, including the Lake Concert Band, Brenda Heim Studios, Mount Dora Center for the Arts, Leesburg Center for the Arts and Lake Eustis Museum of Art, also joined in.
Results show that local arts organizations spent $1 million during the fiscal year 2015, with event-related spending by attendees totaling $8 million. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within their community. Those dollars, in turn, generated nearly $3.7 million in household income for local residents.
“Lake County was proud to take part in this national study of 341 regions including major cultural epicenters like Miami and Chicago,” said Commissioner Wendy Breeden, liaison to the ACA. “And just like in those large cities, results show that our vibrant arts community here in Lake County not only encourages residents to use their discretionary funds closer to home, it also attracts visitors who help local businesses thrive.”
When attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in area restaurants, pay for parking, buy souvenirs and hire a babysitter, the study confirms. What’s more, attendees from out of town often stay overnight at a local hotel, supporting the county’s Tourist Development Tax. These funds are then earmarked to further promote Lake County as a tourist destination and build infrastructure to attract future travelers.