RACC Blog

Arts and Culture Drive the Economy

Thoughts by Laura Strieb, AEP6 Coordinator

On Monday, November 6th, local arts leaders, and city and county officials gathered for a fabulous night where we were joined by Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research at Americans for the Arts along with representatives from the Oregon Arts Commission to learn and hear the results of a year’s long study and survey regarding the impacts of the Arts on the Economy.

Randy Cohen addressing the AEP6 crowd at Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego.

Every five years, Americans for the Arts galvanizes local arts service organizations to go out and see what audiences at arts and culture events are spending around attending an arts and/or culture experience. We also survey arts and culture nonprofit organizations on their spending, hiring, employment and community engagement to get an accurate picture of how the arts drive the economy.

Even in the wake of COVID-19 and the resulting economic recession, the arts continue to provide a significant boost to recharging the economy in America’s local communities. The arts draws people out of their homes and back into community life—spending time with each other and spending their money within the local communities.

As we know the arts and nonprofit sectors were hit extremely hard by the pandemic shut down. So we definitely need to celebrate all the organizations that survived and were able to still be here today! The Arts show resilience!

Raziah Roushan, Executive Director of Tualatin Valley Creates (TVC) introducing guest speakers.

We excitedly were able to share with the arts community and county/city leaders that the data collected throughout all three counties clearly shows that the arts are a phenomenal Return on Investment (ROI). This data also shows the reason why we need to continue to advocate for deep investments of our arts and culture organizations. They are the change makers and action drivers in our communities.

The numbers back that up.

 

For those who want to see the tax revenue generated and jobs created – that data is also hard to refute! In the tri-county area, almost 7,000 jobs are generated in the arts and culture sector. This is most certainly an undercount as we are basing these numbers on the arts organizations that responded to our survey and we know there are many many more orgs out there.

Also from our survey results we see how this plays out in the lives people living in our communities as well as how we provide funding back to federal, state and local governments.

Personal Income generated by arts funding by county looks like:

  • Clackamas County : $17.5 Million
  • Multnomah County : $286.1 Million
  • Washington County : $18.8 Million

Government Revenue (Local, State and Federal) by county :

  • Clackamas County : $4.5 Million
  • Multnomah County : $72.1 Million
  • Washington County : $4.9 Million

Bottom line – the Arts are big business and we need to shout it to the rooftops that our policy makers need to continue to invest and work to make bigger investments in the arts and culture sectors throughout our region and state – because not only is it good for our economy, driving jobs, revenue, tax revenue. It builds community.

The arts get people together, get them talking, get them creating. Community is the catalyst to building a brighter future for all of us. The Arts are that driving force.

Raziah Roushan, Executive Director of TVC and Liora Sponko, Senior Program Manager

Oregon Arts Commission

This is our call to action – tell your neighbors, your community, state and federal leaders – that investment in the arts is the key to the communities we all want for our families.

Recording 

Due to technical difficulty much of the video was lost but the audio remains.

Video/Audio

AEP6 Local Org Slides

AEP6 3-County Slides


Portland Ranked 16th Among the 20 Most Arts-Vibrant Large Communities in the Nation

The 8th Annual Arts Vibrancy Index from SMU DataArts Compiles List of 40 Most Vibrant Arts Communities Across the U.S., Based on Measures of Per Capita Supply, Demand and Government Support for the Arts.

SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, today released its 8th Arts Vibrancy Index, which identifies the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro region as number 16 in the list of 20 Large communities in the United States through an analysis of the level of supply, demand, and government support for the arts in more than 900 communities across the country. Organized into three separate lists based on community population size, totaling 40 communities across the country, this year’s Arts Vibrancy Index is the first to include numerical rankings since 2020, a reflection of arts organizations returning to in-person activities and performances following the easing of pandemic restrictions. Portland, along with its neighbors Vancouver and Hillsboro, has consistently appeared on the Arts Vibrancy Index since 2016. This year, the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro area is ranked sixteenth on the annual list of the 20 most arts-vibrant large communities in the nation.

Related research by SMU DataArts shows that Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) like the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) are powerful catalysts of arts vibrancy which ensure that the arts remain an integral part of community life. RACC was built by community for community. For almost three decades, RACC has stood by our mission and values: To enrich our communities through arts and culture and create a thriving region, powered by creativity, bringing arts and culture to every neighborhood.

Arts-vibrant communities can be found in every region of the United States—a finding which arises from an objective analysis of the data, and not from selecting communities by hand to achieve geographic representation. “The arts and culture sector was hit hard by the pandemic, and some organizations and communities are still recovering. The Index is an opportunity for communities to affirm and celebrate the individuals and organizations that are the sources of arts vibrancy in their region, whether that’s artists who have mastered a local craft tradition over generations, a cultural festival that families enjoy year after year, or a cherished historic theater, museum, or arts-education center. For organizations, funders, local citizens, and public officials, the Arts Vibrancy Index is a powerful resource that leverages data-driven evidence to illuminate how the arts contribute to an area’s economy and public life,” stated Dr. Zannie Voss, Director of SMU DataArts. “One way that public leaders can spark arts vibrancy in their communities is by expanding funding for local arts agencies, which spurs arts employment, stimulates more artistic activity, and increases the strength of geographically dispersed arts-vibrant cultural resources throughout communities.”

In addition to the top arts-vibrant communities listed in the Arts Vibrancy Index, arts-vibrancy scores for every county in the United States can be viewed on an interactive map that identifies arts and cultural strengths that are present in every community. (Also known as Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Areas, these communities have boundaries that are defined by the United States Census Bureau.)

Large Communities (population: 1 million +)

    1. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA
    2. New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ
    3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
    4. Boston, MA
    5. Philadelphia, PA
    6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
    7. Frederick-Gaithersburg-Rockville, MD
    8. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
    9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA
    10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA
    11. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
    12. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
    13. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA
    14. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
    15. Pittsburgh, PA
    16. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
    17. Seattle-Bellevue-Kent, WA
    18. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI
    19. Chicago-Naperville-Evanston, IL
    20. St. Louis, MO-IL

View additional lists and information here.


Groundbreaking Study Reveals Economic and Social Impact of Nonprofit Arts & Culture

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 20, 2023

Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 Study Centers Equity in Economic Research and Highlights Vital Role of Arts and Culture in Building More Livable Communities

PORTLAND, OR. – The Regional Arts & Culture Council announced today that Multnomah County nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $400,700,004 in economic activity in 2022 in Multnomah County, according to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), an economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts. That economic activity – $400,700,004 in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and $4,495,889 in event-related spending by their audiences supported 5,841 jobs and generated a total of $72,062,487 in local, state, and federal government revenue in the County. Spending by arts and culture audiences generates valuable commerce to local merchants, a value-add that few other industries can compete with.

Building on its 30-year legacy as the largest and most inclusive study of its kind, AEP6 uses a rigorous methodology to document the economic and social contributions of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. The study demonstrates locally as well as nationally, arts and culture are a critical economic driver of vibrant communities.

Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study reveals that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $151.7 billion industry—one that supports 2.6 million jobs and generates $29.1 billion in government revenue.

“Arts and culture organizations have a powerful ability to attract and hold dollars in the community longer. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from nearby businesses, and produce the authentic cultural experiences that are magnets for visitors, tourists, and new residents,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “When we invest in nonprofit arts and culture, we strengthen our economy and build more livable communities.”

AEP6 represents a reset from its previous versions, establishing a new benchmark in the AEP study series.

  • Social Impact: For the first time, AEP6 expands beyond the economic and financial data to include social impact measurements of arts and culture’s effect on the well-being of communities and residents.
  • Equity and Inclusion: AEP6 broke new ground by prioritizing equity, community engagement, and inclusivity. With the goal of reducing systemic bias, Americans for the Arts transformed its approach and expanded the inclusion and participation of organizations serving or representing BIPOC- (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA- (African, Latine, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying communities.

Nationally, the extensive research reveals proportional economic and community impacts among attendees at BIPOC and ALAANA organizations to the overall national average. These findings should initiate new, and escalate existing, critical funding conversations about BIPOC and ALAANA organizations receiving fair and proportional financial support.

Key figures from the City of Portland’s AEP6 study include:

  • The City of Portland nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $4,589,494 in event-related spending by its audiences.
  • The typical attendee spends 36.45 per person per event, not including the cost of admission.
  • 32.1% of arts and culture attendees were from outside the county in which the activity took place. They spent an average of $55.21. All vital income for local merchants.
  • 87.2% of respondents agreed that the activity or venue they were attending was “a source of neighborhood pride for the community.”
  • 87.9% said they would “feel a sense of loss if that activity or venue was no longer available.”

By measuring arts and culture’s wide-ranging impact, public and private sector leaders can work together to secure funding and arts-friendly policies that shape more vibrant and equitable communities. The full report, a map of the 373 study regions, and a two-page economic impact summary for each, can be found at AEP6.AmericansForTheArts.org.

Read more and access study findings here. Join us on Monday, November 6th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm PST at Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego for a a comprehensive exploration of Tri-County reports in collaboration with Oregon Arts CommissionTualatin Valley Creates, and Clackamas County Art Alliance.

Virtual Engagement

Event Livestreamed on Zoom from 6-7 pm Register now!


Media Contact: Mario Mesquita, mmequita@racc.org

About the Regional Arts & Culture Council

An independent nonprofit organization, we support greater Portland’s creative economy by providing equitable funding and services to artists and art organizations; managing and growing our diverse, nationally acclaimed public art program; and developing long-lasting public and private partnerships.

For more information visit racc.org.

About the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 Study

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. It was supported by The Ruth Lilly Endowment Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ 297 study partners contributed both time and financial support to the study.

For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study, visit AEP6.AmericansForTheArts.org.


The Arts Propel Communities Forward

Laura Streib, AEP6 Coordinator

For the last year, RACC and Americans for the Arts have been connecting communities through arts and culture events throughout Multnomah County and the City of Portland.

By attending a myriad of events and connecting with attendees, as well as nonprofit organizations, we have been able to get a clear picture of what the arts landscape provides in terms of an economic recovery as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 shutdowns.

One thing we found crystal clear from all the events we were able to attend is just how grateful people are to get out and be part of cultural events again. The need to be able to connect with others is deep and profound.

The results of the surveys provide incredible insight into how the arts and culture nonprofit sector specifically has been resilient in working hard to bring us together and continue to make Portland and Multnomah County the creative and unique place it has always been. A quick overview –

By the Numbers

  • 12,280 jobs and $6 million dollars in household income from working in the arts/nonprofit sector
  • $19.9 Million in local tax revenue generated
  • $25.5 Million in State tax revenue generated
  • $114.6 Million in Federal Tax revenue generated

The ripple effects out into the greater economy can be seen and felt in event-related spending that totaled $331.2 million dollars. When people go out to experience a play or concert or gather for a cultural experience – everyone benefits.

For example, the coffee shop or restaurant where someone stops before or after a show, the drinks enjoyed in the lobby, or the childcare spent to enjoy a night without the kids. All this adds up.

At one event we attended at the Old Church Concert Hall, we had a fascinating conversation with two friends who had driven down from Seattle to attend the sold-out concert. When they started filling out the survey, they realized all of the extra costs associated with what they thought was just a concert.

They paid for gas on their drive down to Portland, they stayed overnight in a local Airbnb, and they went out for dinner, drinks, and coffee. One individual bought a T-shirt from the concert and a vinyl record. Throughout our conversation, it became clear that the arts are an important driving force in our economy.

We know the world has changed dramatically since the last AEP study was released. The data from that last study has helped individual artists apply for grants, assisted organizations in strategic planning, and even shaped planning and policy in Troutdale. Those effects continue to resound today. Data from the AEP5 study was used by the Economic Development Coordinator in Troutdale to push their city leaders to extend the Troutdale Arts Festival into a weekend-long event that closed the main street in old town Troutdale. Having the data of the arts driving economy was the push the city decision-makers needed to implement this new festival which now draws thousands of people each summer. This has led to more concerts in the park, movie nights, and other cultural events throughout the summer in East Multnomah County.

Arts and Culture are major drivers of our economy and are something our city officials and elected leaders need to be mindful of as we continue to emerge from these continued uncertain times. As Oregon is ranked 41st in terms of public dollars invested in Arts and Culture, we need to do more to leverage the creative economy for the betterment of our communities.

The arts mean business in the Greater Portland area. 


Save the Date!

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), in collaboration with Oregon Arts Commission, Tualatin Valley Creates, and Clackamas County Art Alliance, is excited to unveil the recently released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study, a comprehensive exploration from Americans for the Arts into how arts breathe life and dollars into our economy.

Join us on Monday, November 6th, 5:30 – 7:30 pm PST at Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego (Map). Secure Your Spot!


Arts Education for All Act Announcement

Immediate Release

September 27, 2023

The Regional Arts & Culture Council Re-Endorses The Arts Education for All Act (HR 5463) Co-Sponsored by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR1)

Portland, OR – The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is pleased to announce our endorsement and support of the reintroduction of the Arts Education for All Act in 2023, announced during National Arts in Education Week on September 15 by Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR1), and Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM). This Act will once again support and encourage arts education and programming for PK-12 students, youth, and adults involved in the justice system. The Regional Arts & Culture Council has engaged with numerous supporters throughout the past few years and we hope you will join us in once again supporting this important legislation. The newly established legislative Arts and Culture Caucus coordinated by Representative Rob Nosse (D-42) was launched earlier this year to emphasize the importance of arts and culture in Oregon. We know that arts education is a crucial component of that mission. At RACC, we support arts organizations and artists that make a difference in our community through their impactful engagement in the arts, and The Arts Education for All Act will only enhance these programs.

“The arts spark creativity, critical thinking, and empathy in students … These skills benefit and enrich students throughout their lives regardless of what path they take. It is unacceptable that there is less access to arts education for students from Black, Latino, and low-income families, especially when research shows that students who have arts education perform better in math, reading, and writing. I wrote the Arts Education for All Act to help address these disparities. And with student mental health as a top concern, the arts can help bring healing and wellness.”  Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici

The Arts Education for All Act addresses these gaps in access to arts education and has the potential to improve the lifelong health and achievement of both children and adults. Arts education and programming can be federally funded under various existing programs; however, currently there is a lack of clarity and information available about how the funds can be used. If this becomes legislation, it will support and encourage arts education and programming for our youngest learners, and will also include youth and adults involved in the criminal court and justice systems. The bill also includes provisions that support rigorous arts and arts education research to continue to inform how elementary and secondary education outcomes are affected by a well-rounded education.

A one-page summary of the Arts Education for All Act can be found here. For a link to the press release issued by the Congresswoman, click here. CALL TO ACTION- if you want to endorse Arts Education for All, please add your name to the list here or email artsedu@racc.org. To read the full text of the bill click here.

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MEDIA CONTACT

Chanda Evans, Arts Education Manager, Regional Arts & Culture Council, cevans@racc.org

Communications at Regional Arts & Culture Council, comms@racc.org


Arts for All Program Increases Access and Outreach in Community

The Regional Arts & Culture Council Announces a Relaunch of the Arts for All Program to Increase Engagement and Outreach in Our Community, and Beyond, Ensuring Arts & Culture Are Accessible for All

We envision a community that supports, engages with, and finds joy in arts and culture being accessible by all–not just those who can afford to pay, but also for those with limited resources. RACC wants opportunities to be available for all members of our community. We want people to be uplifted, enjoy arts and cultural events, and be part of the creative fabric of our state. The Arts for All program was conceived by a group of thoughtful arts leaders more than 10 years ago to ensure that everyone receiving assistance through the Oregon Trail Card/SNAP could attend arts and cultural events for $5 a ticket.

While the Arts for All program has flourished and steadily grown, we have seen that there is a need to increase its accessibility. To achieve our goals, we are relaunching the program with renewed engagement and outreach. Our goals include making the information downloadable from our website at www.racc.org and distributing printed materials throughout the region to hundreds of non-profit social service agencies, county and city government offices, schools, health departments and clinics, community centers, arts and culture organizations, and more. Program information will be available in six languages and will be at culturally specific locations.

Friends of Chamber Music was proud to be one of the founding member organizations of Arts for All back in 2011, and I’ve personally had the privilege of continuing to help coordinate the program for the last several years. It’s been so gratifying to see the impact Arts for All has had in making the arts accessible to all parts of our community and see it become a model for similar programs across the country.  – Pat Zagelow, Friends of Chamber Music Executive Director

The Arts for All program enables us to enjoy arts and culture together while ensuring access for all. Without the support and dedication of arts organizations in our community, this program would not be possible. We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Hult Center for Performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon. The expansion of the Arts for All program throughout the state ensures better access to arts and culture for all of our residents.

RACC looks forward to hearing the community’s response for this renewed launch and engagement opportunity for Arts for All. Please let us know how we can continue to ensure that access to arts and culture activities is available for all who wish to participate. Let us know how we can make this community-centered program better! – Carol Tatch, Executive Director, Regional Arts & Culture Council

The organizations who have joined RACC to ensure access to arts and culture in our community are listed at racc.org/artsforall. Please support these arts and cultural organizations any way that you can to show your support for arts and culture access for all. For more information, please email us at arts4all@racc.org.


A Call to Action: Legacy Arts Council asks Communities for Support in Fight for Continued Partnership with Portland

RACC hosted artists

RACC hosted artists: Javon Johnson, Ted Lange, Regina Taylor, Phillip Bernard Smith, and RACC Team Members during the recent Pacific Northwest Multi Cultural Readers Series and Film Festival. Photo by M. Boakye.

Immediate Release

September 14, 2023

Regional Arts and Culture Council holds in-person events with its supporters to rally awareness, support for its continued contract with the City

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) is doing what it does best: Building community for the purpose of supporting the region’s artists and creatives. Thursday, September 14, the nonprofit will kick off community events across the Portland metro region, to celebrate its base and rally support as they ask the City of Portland to reconsider canceling its contract with RACC.

“We continue to do everything in our power to speak the truth about our three decades-long partnership with the City of Portland,” said Carol Tatch, RACC executive director. “RACC’s level of expertise and involvement is critical to the revitalization of Portland. We stand by our legacy of success and track record of responsible stewardship of the public’s dollars.”

RACC in Community Event
RACC is facing a deadline imposed by the City of Portland. Councilmember Ryan announced in July he is canceling the City’s contract with RACC, effective June 30, 2024. The City plans to bring the Portland arts and cultural decisions inside the government versus through RACC, an established and respected 501(c)(3).

The RACC team and its community are working feverishly to illuminate the impact canceling the contract would have on artists and arts organizations throughout the tri-county area – and how the entire Portland metro area would suffer. Commissioner Ryan’s decision would take away the Portland community’s power to make decisions about arts funding, and hand it back to city officials. The reason RACC was created in the first place, 28 years ago, was to return that authority to the people, where it belongs.

“I truly don’t believe the public understands what’s at stake,” said Debby Garman, RACC interim board chair. “I believe that facts matter, and truth matters. I believe citizens of Portland deserve to hear RACC’s perspective and to hear correct facts about the City claims leading to canceling the RACC contract. Portland is deeply in need of restoration, and the expert team at RACC supporting the broadest creative community can be a brilliant part of the solution.”

Event Details and Activation
Thursday, September 14, marks the kickoff community event, held at openHAUS, 5020 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. RACC encourages everyone to bring their questions, curiosity, and voices. There will be ample food and entertainment, along with details about RACC’s plan. Communities will learn how to leverage their voices to support area artists who depend on RACC funding.

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Advocacy in Arts Education

What do we want? Arts Education! When do we want it? Now!

This seems like the mantra every new school year, every budget season, and perennially from youth across our communities. They love art. They love the paint, the sticky glue on their fingers, the seasonal pumpkin sketches, and the field trips to performances and exhibitions. They love using scissors and cutting hearts out of red construction paper, school assemblies, showcasing their ceramics and photography in the halls, learning current media techniques, and most of all, they love the joy of being creative together.

Advocating for arts and culture in our community and schools is a full-time job. We hope that one day it will just be the norm. People will simply understand the value of arts and culture in our community, in our schools. We will not have to advocate for funding and sustaining a vibrant arts education program in our PK-12 schools, but will be thinking instead about all the new courses, and the arts educators we need to hire because the demand for art is so vast and the classes are too full. Imagine.

Yet, arts and culture are in demand now. Arts save lives. We know that because teachers, community members, students, policy makers, data reports and analysis, and arts organizations remind us repeatedly. It is through arts in our schools that an atmosphere of communication and tolerance, a mapping of emotions through creation, enable students to connect to the greater world. There they can express their creative selves, find their voice, and to see the connectedness of the human spirit. In community, we do the same.

Can you recall the world without music, movies, gatherings and performances while we were in lockdown during the global Covid-19 pandemic? The arts enable us to survive through some of our darkest times as a community, and the arts continue to uplift and support us as we struggle not just to survive, but to thrive in our new world.

We ask you to join us as an advocate for arts education in our schools and in our community. Lend your voice to the chorus, and share your experiences and joy with others. Tell your story of how the arts saved you. Nurtured you. Tell your family members to support candidates and board members that want sustained funding in arts education in our community. Support arts councils that advocate for arts and culture in your community. Support arts organizations by volunteering, attending performances, and sponsoring school trips through donations. Whatever you do, be that advocate and voice for arts and culture in our community and schools. Be loud.

Please join us at www.racc.org/arts-education to learn more.  Tag us on Instagram when you share your stories.

-Chanda Evans, Arts Education Manager