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by Jordan Green

Monitoring the economic pulse of the Triad

Study shows the arts is a significant economic player in Triad

The economic impact study completed by Americans for the Arts for the NC Department of Cultural Resources made a splash in the Triad. The report was released on Monday at the Milton Rhodes Arts Center in Winston-Salem, and the arts councils in Forsyth and Guilford County both trumpeted their numbers with county-level breakout reports.

Forsyth County clearly holds the edge, with findings that nonprofit arts and culture generates $136.6 million in total economic activity, supports 4,769 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $112.4 million in household income to local residents and raises $5.7 million in local government revenue. In comparison, the arts generates $118.1 million in total economic activity in Guilford County, supports 4,269 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $78.4 million in household income to local residents and raises $5.4 million in local government revenue. If you consider that the population of Forsyth County is only 350,670, compared to 488,406 in Guilford County, the impact of the arts per capita in Forsyth is even more significant.

The Piedmont Triad region as a whole outpaces the Charlotte area in all measures of economic impact by arts organizations, but lags significantly behind the demographically larger Triangle.

Mayors in the Triad’s two largest cities were clearly on board with the message, and the arts councils for the two urban Triad counties had prepared quotes ready to blast out in Monday morning press releases.

“Because Winston-Salem bills itself as the ‘City of Arts and Innovation,’ these economic impact statistics are of particular interest to us,” Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said. “This study confirms what we have known — the arts are an economic driver and play a very important role in countless other ways.”

From Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins:

“This new study is fantastic news for our community. We now have the research to back up what many of us have known for some time — that our arts and culture industry is a huge economic engine that rivals some of Greensboro’s largest companies in its impact on jobs and economic activity. When a business sector generates more than $5 million annually in local government revenue alone, that is something to celebrate and support.”

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