1. Stand Up and Be Counted in Statewide Arts and Culture Economic Impact Study

2. Volunteers Needed

1. Stand Up and Be Counted in Statewide Arts and Culture Economic Impact Study

The arts and cultural resources of our state will be studied this summer through an economic impact study conducted by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA), and the Forum of Regional Arts Councils (FRACM). The project, which will produce eleven regional economic impact studies as well as a statewide study, measures the economic impact of arts and culture organizations and audiences both locally and across Minnesota. The study began recently, and the results will be released to the public in January 2006.

Cities and states across the country seek to build “creative economies” that are driven by the strength of creative people such as artists, designers, and innovators of all kinds. Ã’The arts and culture are one of the things that define Minnesota, like our lakes and the great outdoors, drawing people here from all over the country. Minnesota is poised to be one of the leading creative economies in the country behind only New York and California, because Minnesota has a unique civic culture of public support for and participation in the arts,” said Sheila Smith, MCAÕs Executive Director.

The year-long study will be coordinated by MCA, while each of the stateÕs eleven Regional Arts Councils will manage audience surveys and the data release events in their own regions. Americans for the Arts, their national partner, will create the economic models for the study for each region and for the statewide study, and will provide secure web-based surveying tools.

“We hope that many of our arts and cultural groups participate in the survey,” said Mara Wittman of the Northwest Regional Arts Council in Warren. “The results will be a great way of showing the economic impact of the arts in northwestern Minnesota.”

The types of non-profit organizations that will be studied include community and statewide organizations in the arts, historical societies, humanities organizations, and public broadcasting.Arts areas to be studied include all genres; dance, literary arts, music, theater, visual arts and artist service organizations.

“It is anticipated that the data collected from around the state will help support the case for increased public and private sector arts and culture funding in our communities and will generate significant statewide and local visibility for these important community assets,” said Smith.

The study consists of two parts:

1. A web-based budget survey for arts and culture organizations. Organizations will soon receive an email or snail mail letter with instructions on how they can participate.

2. An audience survey distributed to attendees at arts and culture events or exhibits. These surveys measure event-related spending by arts audiences and are extremely important. For example, arts attendees often eat a meal before the show, pay for parking, and purchase souvenirs. This spending has a measurable impact on the local economyÑan impact that differentiates the arts from many other local industries. If you are asked to complete an audience survey, please take part.

Participation is Key Terri Widman, Director of the Region 2 Arts Council in Bemidji said,”If we get a significant number of organizations to fill out the surveys, they will receive a helpful tool, with which they can leverage more public and private financial support.” “The excitement in the Arrowhead Region over the Economic Impact Study has been rewarding,” said Bob DeArmond of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council in Duluth. “Regional artists and arts organizations have long known how important their activities are to the economy of the Arrowhead Region and they are looking forward to having a new tool that will clearly highlight their impact on the region as well as the state of Minnesota.”

Maxine Adams, Director of the Lake Region Arts Council in Fergus Falls, said, “arts organizations in our area are eager to participate in this valuable study. Our arts community is thriving and this study will demonstrate it.” Mark Turner, Director of the Five Wings Arts Council in Staples urges everyone to participate in this Economic Impact Survey. “It’s easy to argue that the arts add to our quality of life, it will be exciting to see how this tool helps us explain the quantitative impact of the arts as well.”

Greta Murray, Director of SMAHC in Marshall, said, “This survey will be an important asset to our arts community.” Mary Minnick Daniels, Director of the East Central Arts Council in Mora, is looking forward to seeing the results for the region. “It is commonly argued during hard times that the arts are a frill. When budgets are slashed often it is the arts programs (music, theater, visual art) that are cut first. With this study we are examining one aspect of the impact of the arts: are arts projects simply a luxury or, in fact, are the arts essential to the economy? In other words is creativity a key to economic vitality?”

“Arts and culture play an important role in our economy and quality of life,” said Leslie Schumacher of the Central Minnesota Arts Board. “When families and individuals attend our local arts events they often patronize surrounding shops and restaurants. The Economic Impact Survey will assist us in proving just how valuable the arts are to everyone in our region and in our state.” “We hope that many of our arts and cultural groups participate in the Economic Impact Survey,” said Brenda Flintrop of the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council in Mankato. “We are hoping that the report will confirm what we have suspected all along, that the Arts contribute significant income to rural Minnesota communities.”

Pat Alcott, Director of the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council in Rochester, said, “If we get a significant number of organizations to fill out the surveys, they will receive a helpful tool, with which they can leverage more public and private financial support.” “It is broadly recognized that the arts are an important part of this regionÕs quality of life, now this report will demonstrate yet another way that arts and culture benefit this region and the state as a whole,” said Carolyn Bye, Director of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council in the Twin Cities.

Many Minnesota Audiences Have Already Been Surveyed

These include audiences at the Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes, the Summer Fest РArts and Crafts Show in Fergus Falls, the Great American Think Off in New York Mills, and Theatre L̥Homme Dieu in Alexandria, Madhatters, Inc., the Quilt Show at the Morrison County Historical Society, the Thief River Falls Community Arts Council, Warren/Alverado/Oslo High School Theater Department, Northwest Minnesota Art Extension, the Headwaters School of Music, the Little Theatre of Owatonna, The Masque Youth Theatre and School, the Winona Symphony Orchestra, Honors Choir of Southeast Minnesota, the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestra, Rochester Aria Group, ACORN Children̥s Theater, Bemidji Community Theater, the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour, Cambridge Isanti Performing Arts Center, Franconia Sculpture Park, the Milaca Area Festival of Fine Arts, and other events in North Branch and Sandstone, the Grand Marais Jazz Festival, the Morgan Park Music Series in Duluth and Sterling Dance in Cook County, the Dawson-Boyd Arts Association, the Blue Mound Area Theater, the Palace Theater in Luverne, Marshal Area Fine Arts Council, Wilmar Community Theatre, and the Prairie Arts Chorale in Redwood Falls, the Chamber Music Society Concert in Sauk Rapids, a polka concert in Sauk Center, a Minnesota Orchestra performance at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Center Chorale, ArtSoup Festival in Elk River, Great Northern Theater Company in Cold Spring, the Buffalo Community Theater, the Mozart Requiem in St. Peter, the Mankato Children̥s Chorus, Waseca Chorale, the Waseca Arts Council, the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, Merely Players Community Theater, and PLRAC̥s Opening Art Exhibit Reception, the Loft, Guthrie Theatre, Lakeville Area Art Center, the American Craft Council show at the St. Paul Civic Center, Jazzdance at the Southern Theatre, a Minnesota Opera production at the Ordway, Australian Dance Theatre at Northrop Auditorium, the Lakeshore Players in White Bear Lake and Lyric Arts Company in Anoka, Nimbus Theatre Company, Mu Center for Performing Arts, Continental Ballet Co., Ragamala Music and Dance, VocalEssence, and the Jordan Arts Festival, among others.

Research Already Shows That Minnesotans Value the Arts

In a random statewide household survey just released in January 2004, the Minnesota Center for Survey Research at the University of Minnesota asked, ÒDo you believe that arts and cultural activities help to make Minnesota an attractive place to live and work?Ó A resounding 94% of survey respondents said Òyes.Ó This study should give Minnesotans even more reasons to support the arts and culture in their communities.

Study Partners This statewide project is a collaboration of the Forum of Regional Arts Councils (RAC Forum) and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA), principle partners, with major funding provided by the McKnight Foundation. Additional partners include Twin Cities Performing Arts Research Coalition (PARC) project and Americans for the Arts (AFTA).

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts Minnesota Citizens for the Arts 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 32,000 arts advocates in Minnesota. For more information on MCA, this project or statistics about the arts in Minnesota, please contact MCA Executive Director Sheila Smith at 651-251-0868, by email at she-mca@mtn.org, or view MCAÕs website: http://www.mtn.org/mca.

The Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota The mission of the Regional Arts Council Forum is to secure resources, address common issues and provide mutual support amongst the regions in order to promote the arts in Minnesota. The ForumÕs Chair is Mary Minnick-Daniels in Mora, 320-679-4065 extension 30 / ecac@ecrdc.org. —–

2. Volunteers Needed

MCA needs volunteers to help us prepare a large mailing launching the Economic Impact Study at our office in St. Paul at 2233 University Ave. #355. Stop by anytime between 9-5 Friday, July 15th, or Tuesday, July 19th. Contact Kate at MCA for more details., 651-251-0868.


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Minnesota Citizens for the Arts is a non-partisan 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. If you are interested in learning more about how to advocate for the arts, or how to activate people in your arts organization or community to lobby for the arts, please call us at 651-251-0868 or e-mail mca@mtn.org.