Nonprofits Put Economic Power of Arts at $330 Million

Long Island nonprofit organizations gathered in Huntington last week to cite a new report that credits the arts and cultural sector for generating $330 million in economic activity for the region last year.

Philanthropist Roger Tilles, State Assemblyman Charles Lavine and others involved in nonprofit organizations joined the presentation by Lauren Wagner of the Long Island Arts Alliance in underscoring the benefits of their work through the creation of jobs, purchase of services and goods from other local businesses and tax revenue. Wagner said the report would help make clear “the transformative power of the arts community.”

The Arts & Economic Prosperity Study found:

  • 4,905 full-time equivalent jobs, for artists, musicians, marketers, accountants, construction workers, chefs, bartenders and hotel managers
  • $234.6 million in household income, helping residents buy goods, pay their rent and living expenses, and start new businesses.
  • $15 million in state and local taxes
  • $178.4 million in spending by arts and culture organizations
  • an additional $151.6 million in event-related expenditures by their audiences.

Tilles, who is also Long Island’s representative on the state Board of Regents, said that changes recommended last week in the Regent testing system would lead to an increase in cultural and arts education in schools.

The report, “originally focused on jobs and business,” Tilles said. ” I’m thrilled because this business report will tell the world what arts can do for business but it enables the fostering of empahty, tolerance and inclusion by educating our students through the arts.

Referring to a commission issued last week that recommended changes in the Regents testing system, Tilles said there will be  “A new way of graduating in New York State, which will include a much bigger infusion of arts and culture into our curriculum.

“Right now, Long Island is in crisis mode and arts has not played as large a role as it should have. We need the empathy and the understanding and the arts can do that, and will be doing it under the new curriclum. I am thrilled because this report will tell us what the arts can do for our economy but for what it will enable us to do, bring empathy, culture and tolerance to our students who really need it.”

The report said, “In partnership with Americans for the Arts, Long Island Arts Alliance coordinated the study of Nassau and Suffolk Counties with generous funding from the Long Island Community Foundation. Over the past year, we have gathered insights from almost 1,000 attendees at various arts and culture events throughout Nassau and Suffolk to report on the social and economic impact the creative sector has on the Island. We’ve connected with over 400 cultural nonprofits, as well as other stakeholders, to understand the arts landscape’s role in COVID recovery.”



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