17 New Creative Minnesota Studies Show Impact of Nonprofit Arts & Culture on Local Economies

SAINT PAUL, MN: Over the past month Creative Minnesota and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts released seventeen new studies that quantify the impact of the arts and culture sector on the local economies of a select group of Minnesota cities and counties. 

As the most comprehensive report ever done of the creative sector, Creative Minnesota is a new effort to fill the gaps in available information about Minnesota’s cultural field and to improve our understanding of its importance to our quality of life and economy. Today’s report release is the second wave this year of a concentrated effort to collect and report data on the creative sector for analysis, education and advocacy. All of the research developed by the Creative Minnesota team is available soon for free at creativemn.org. 

Statewide, Creative Minnesota: The Impact and Health of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector found that 1269 nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Minnesota support the equivalent of 33,000 full time jobs, and 19 million people attend nonprofit arts and cultural events annually. These organizations serve 2.6 million K-12 students each year. Analysis from Americans for the Arts’ Arts and Prosperity project allowed for comparisons to other states.

Overall, Minnesota has double the arts economy of Wisconsin even though we have nearly the same population, ten and a half times the arts economy of Kansas and twelve and a half times the arts economy of South Dakota. 

RESULTS

The size of the nonprofit arts and culture economy in most cities only roughly aligned with the size of the population, however several placed dramatically higher in terms of arts and culture attendance and economic impact:

  • The City of Fergus Falls, 13th in population, came in 9th among participating cities with the size of its arts economy at nearly $3 million annually, served by the Fergus Falls Center for the Arts, Kaddatz Galleries and others.
  • The City of Grand Rapids, 14th in population, placed dramatically higher than expected in both economic impact (5th ) and attendance (7th) among participating cities, drawing attendees from across the Northland to organizations such as the Reif Center and Macrostie Art Center.
  • Cook County, 16th in population, also placed dramatically higher than expected in economic impact (7th) and in attendance (9th) due to strong arts and culture organizations such as the Grand Marais Art Colony and North House Folk School. Cook County was also third in economic impact per capita, bringing $889 in economic impact for every one of the county’s 5176 residents, placing them 3rd behind only Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, home to Minnesota’s largest world class arts and culture organizations such as the Walker Art Center, Ordway Center for Performing Arts and the Minnesota History Center as well as hundreds of mid-sized and small organizations, not surprisingly led in total economic impact. However, a robust arts economy was found in every city studied across the state.

  • Minneapolis has over fourteen times the nonprofit arts and culture economy of cities of comparable population from around the country. *(The full Minneapolis study will be available at creativemn.org in early 2016).
  • St. Paul has over ten times the nonprofit arts and culture economy of cities of comparable population from around the country.
  • In the City of Duluth, organizations such as the Duluth Art Institute, Tweed Museum, Minnesota Ballet and Duluth Playhouse served over 835,000 people for an annual economic impact of over $36 million.

Fergus Falls has experienced a bit of a renaissance since the Legacy Amendment passed in 2007, and is becoming more and more well known as a cultural destination in the State,” said Michele Anderson, Rural Program Director, Springboard for the Arts. “We hope that this study will be a tool for community leaders to refer to, as they work to draw residents and businesses to the area, and that it will help strengthen local investment in the arts from the city, businesses and community foundations.”

Kathy Dodge, Chair of the Grand Rapids Arts & Culture Commission added, “We have always suspected that the arts have had a strong economic impact on our community, but now there is proof. The data will prove extremely valuable as we make an even stronger case for the role of the creative economy in the City of Grand Rapids.”

Today’s reports are part of an opt-in study that relies on the data collected for the previous statewide study, so not all Minnesota cities and counties participated. 

“The seventeen cities and counties participated for a variety of reasons,” said Sheila Smith, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. “Some are working to get the arts into their cities’ comprehensive plan, some were curious to see how they were doing. It was great to see that in every city and county studied we found a robust arts economy in action.”

The arts and culture are an important part of Duluth’s quality of life and now we also know the significance of their economic impact,” said Mary Mathews, the Chair of the Duluth Public Arts Commission. “The Duluth Public Art Commission is developing a long-term art and culture plan. The opportunity to acquire economic impact data for the City of Duluth was timely. This report provides baseline data and specific measures that we will use to measure our progress.”   

Creative Minnesota was developed by a collaborative of arts and culture funders in partnership with Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA). The report leverages new in-depth research made possible because of Minnesota’s participation in the Cultural Data Project (culturaldata.org).  The first round of studies, released in February 2015, looked at the state’s eleven arts regions and at the state as a whole. This round is about cities and counties. Creative Minnesota is a snapshot of the health and impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations’ budgets in 2013 and looks at their spending and their audiences as well as other indicators. 

The Creative Minnesota team includes Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota, Target, Bush Foundation, Mardag Foundation, and Jerome Foundation, with in-kind support from the Minnesota Historical Society and others. All 29 reports released so far are available for free at creativemn.org.

CITY

Study Area Rank in Population

Population

Total Economic Impact

Rank in Economic Impact

Annual # of Attendees

Rank in # of Attendees

Minneapolis

1

382,578

$541M

1

7.8M

1

St. Paul

2

285,068

$477M

2

7M

2

Maple Grove & NW Suburbs

3

284,683

$4M

8

91K

6

Duluth

4

86,265

$36M

3

835K

3

St. Cloud

5

65,842

$12.4M

4

328K

4

Chisago County

6

53,887

$2.9M

10

83K

8

St. Louis Park

7

45,250

$1.5M

14

27K

14

Winona

8

27,592

$4.7M

6

119K

5

Mille Lacs County

9

26,097

$.85M

16

10K

16

White Bear Center for the Arts**

10

23,797

$1.7M

13

33K

13

Northfield

11

20,007

$2.1M

12

71K

10

Red Wing

12

16,459

$2.2M

11

41K

12

Fergus Falls

13

13,138

$3M

9

42K

11

Grand Rapids

14

10,869

$5M

5

86K

7

Virginia

15

8,712

$.179M

17

2.5K

17

Cook County

16

5,176

$4.6M

7

78K

9

Pine City

17

3127

$1M

15

21K

15

**The White Bear Center for the Arts report includes only one organization, so not really comparable to the other local studies. Population listed is for the City of White Bear Lake.

Major Sponsoring Organizations:
   Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA) is a statewide arts advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure opportunity for all people to have access to and involvement in the arts. MCA organizes the arts community and lobbies the Minnesota State Legislature and Congress on issues pertaining to the nonprofit arts and conducts original research. MCA works with over 40,000 arts advocates in Minnesota. 651-251-0868, www.mncitizensforthearts.org @MNCitizen.

   The McKnight Foundation: www.mcknight.org

   Target: https://corporate.target.com/corporate-responsibility

   Bush Foundation: www.bushfoundation.org

   Mardag Foundation: http://www.mardag.org/

   Jerome Foundation: http://www.jeromefdn.org/

   The Minnesota State Arts Board: http://www.arts.state.mn.us/

   Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota: http://www.arts.state.mn.us/racs/forum.htm

   Minnesota Historical Society: http://www.mnhs.org/about

   Ideas that Kick: www.ideasthatkick.com

   Americans for the Arts: www.AmericansForTheArts.org

Local Sponsors:
Chisago County HRA-EDA and East Central Regional Arts Council, Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Cook County Chamber of Commerce, Grand Marais Art Colony, North House Folk School, and Sivertson Gallery, Arrowhead Regional Arts Council and Duluth Public Arts Commission, Lake Region Arts Council and Springboard for the Arts, Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission, the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, City of Maple Grove, Maple Grove Art Center, Mille Lacs County, the East Central Regional Arts Council, City of Minneapolis, Northfield Arts Guild, Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, City of Northfield Economic Development Authority, Northfield Downtown Development Corporation, Northfield Historical Society, and South Eastern Regional Arts Council, East Central Regional Arts Council and the City of Pine City, City of Red Wing, Sheldon Theatre of Performing Arts, Red Wing Port Authority, Red Wing Arts Association, Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, United Arts of Central Minnesota, Central Minnesota Arts Board, GREAT Theatre, and St. Cloud Arts Commission, City of St. Louis Park, St. Louis Park Friends of the Arts, and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, United Arts of Central Minnesota, Central Minnesota Arts Board, GREAT Theatre, and St. Cloud Arts Commission, City of Virginia, the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, White Bear Center for the Arts, City of Winona