Bloomington Arts/Ivy Tech Study Ways Art Impacts Economy

The City of Bloomington and Ivy Tech have collaborated to join a study analyzing the way that non-profit arts organizations impact local economies.

A picture of the Walnut street and Fourth street corner of the Waldron building.

Photo: Bill Shaw/WTIU

The group found that on 2002-2003, arts contributed $44 million to the local economy.

The City of Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District (BEAD) and Ivy Tech Community College have collaborated to join a study analyzing the way that non-profit arts organizations impact local economies.

The Bloomington Area Arts Council facilitated Bloomington’s participation in the same study in 2002 and 2003 and found that the arts had contributed more than $44 million to the local economy for the year. According to the study, this supported almost 1600 full-time jobs and generated $32 million in household income to Bloomington residents.

Bloomington Assistant Economic Development Director Miah Michaelsen says these results were important in pointing out that the arts can be more than a leisure activity.

“People, again,” she says, “don’t necessarily think about economic impact as it relates to arts, and so to see a figure like that and to see the FTE jobs that were potentially associated with that, again, I think started a really good conversation in the community about looking at the arts.”

This time, the City of Bloomington and Ivy Tech want to participate in the study to see how Bloomington has measured up over the past eight years. Michaelsen says she expects to see more participation among arts organizations, but doesn’t expect a significant increase in overall spending because of the recent recession.

“I think,” she says, “whatever we see will be useful information for us in one way or the other, so again, my hunch is that we’re going to see at least a holding steady or an increase, but again, we’re gathering all this data for an entire year and it’s only February, so, you know, we’ve got a long way to go.”

Michaelsen says the results for the 2011-2012 study will be available in May of next year.

  • Ian

    Wow! Those are great numbers. Anything to show that arts shouldn't be targeted for things such as budget-cuts etc. Without them our economy would be that much worse.

    Keep writing, Libby!

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