Resilience of the Dallas arts industry during the pandemic – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas’ arts and culture sector is making a strong comeback from the pandemic, according to a new study released in November.

Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy organization, released its latest national study on the economic impact of the arts, including results for arts and culture nonprofits in the city of Dallas and the Dallas Arts District.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) survey reflects on the challenges and hopes of businesses creating art after the pandemic. Although audiences have not returned to live performances at pre-pandemic levels, the arts and culture industry still contributes significantly to the Dallas economy, and audiences strongly believe that the arts play an important role in society.

“The cultural arts sector is at the heart of Dallas’ identity,” said Martin Elise Philip, director of the Office of Arts and Culture. “Over many decades, our city leaders have made significant and sustained investments in the growth of this ecosystem, and despite the setbacks caused by COVID, it is a significant and growing segment of the Dallas economy.”

Arts organizations continue to produce work, but audiences have not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The timing of this year’s survey is unusual. The Arts and Economic Prosperity Survey is normally conducted every five years, but the 2020 survey was postponed to 2022/2023 due to the pandemic. This is the first comprehensive survey conducted by Americans for the Arts nationwide and locally since 2015. The survey was conducted in 373 communities and regions across the country in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

The City of Dallas and the Dallas Arts District participated with 130 organizations providing financial and attendance data. This includes 2,790 audience surveys collected from attendees of shows, events, exhibitions and special events between May 2022 and July 2023, with financial data from organizations for FY22.

The AEP6 study was funded in Dallas by the Office of Arts and Culture and the Dallas Arts District and supported in partnership by the Dallas Cultural Advocacy Coalition (DACAC) and the North Texas Arts Business Council.

According to AEP6, the nonprofit arts and culture sector in the city of Dallas generates an economic impact of $853,611,875 in direct and indirect spending and supports 13,953 jobs while generating significant local, state and federal tax revenue. The study also showed an attendance of 6,821,319 people. The study included data from February 2022 to July 2023, including 2,790 audience-intercepted surveys collected from attendees at events, exhibitions and performances.

The survey also measures the social impact of Dallas arts and culture. 89.8% of respondents said that “this activity or place instills a sense of pride in this neighborhood or community” and 90.5% said that they “would feel a great sense of loss if this activity or place were no longer available “.

These numbers are significant as the City of Dallas is considering including cultural venues in the 2024 bond program. The arts community is advocating for at least 6 percent of the bond to repair and update existing cultural facilities.

“With these kinds of numbers, both in and out of the arts district and even after the pandemic, it speaks to the vibrancy and creative retreat that’s happening in Dallas,” said Joanna St. Angelo, president of DACAC. “It shows funding from the city and all of our donors are in a good position. We simply cannot let up on this support, and that includes taking care of our important and beautiful places with a significant investment through the bond program next year.”

The Dallas Arts District, along with the City of Dallas, participated in this recent survey conducted by Americans for the Arts.

Cultural tourism is also addressed in the study. In Dallas, 37.7% of attendees were non-local visitors who came to the city from outside Dallas County. These visitors spend an average of $56.49. Additionally, 92% of non-local visitors reported that the primary purpose of their visit was specifically to attend the program or event they attended.

Looking specifically at the Dallas Arts District, the 118-acre corner of downtown Dallas had an economic impact of $340,711,537 in spending, supporting 5,924 jobs. The district’s 16 cultural organizations and venues reported attendance of 2,735,721, generating 40.1% of the city’s economic impact.

“Our arts community is a key driver of the Dallas economy,” said Lily Weiss, executive director of the Dallas Arts District. “It brings tourists and visitors to our city from North Texas and beyond. They come here, they spend, it all has a ripple effect. And it creates a vibrant city where people want to move their businesses, live, play and enjoy a great quality of life. The arts amplify all of this.

Find out more: Dallas Arts District

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