A new study found arts and cultural groups in downtown Arlington contribute more than $118 million to the local economy each year, including tens of millions in salaries.
The results of the study, commissioned by the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation (‘DAMC’), were released this week. The study sampled eight arts groups in downtown Arlington and examined data from 2019.
DAMC President and CEO Maggie Campbell said the study considered factors such as direct and indirect jobs and salaries, direct and indirect economic output or money that the organizations and their activities pumped into Arlington's economy, taxable sales, and hotel room sales generated by out-of-town visitors.
“We need to be able to make a business case for why it’s important to reinvest in the arts as much as we do other parts of our economy,” Campbell said. "I think the real impact is it gives each and every one of our arts organizations a business case to approach funders, to approach grant organizations, and to demonstrate their value."
One of the eight groups sampled was the Arlington Museum of Art. Lily Williams, the museum’s director of communication and education, said the results of the study were promising especially as businesses shift toward pre-pandemic models.
“Arlington really does show up for the arts. It’s nice to have that additional sense of proof like we’re here, we matter,” Williams said. “We have fact-based evidence that the arts are important and the arts do financially benefit our community.”
According to Williams, about 30% of the museum’s guests are out-of-state visitors. The museum reopened last August and their latest exhibition opened in late May. Guests have been gradually returning, she said.
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“It’s incredible to see how people are ready to interact with art again. I think we were trapped inside for so long, everyone is champing at the bit for something to do,” she said.
Arlington Music Hall also participated in the study. The hall is owned by Fort Worth City Councilman Cary Moon and reopened in May after staying closed for 14 months under pandemic restrictions. The hall has two shows a week scheduled for the rest of 2021, Moon said.
“With concerts, there’s an anticipation. There’s a future date that’s set and there’s a build-up for that concert. There’s a lot of marketing, there’s a lot of advancing of that show,” he said. “We feel comfortable enough that people will come out and enjoy the live music to go ahead and put shows on the calendar.”
In addition to total economic output, the study also found that the total number of jobs directly and indirectly supported by the arts in downtown Arlington total 1,218. According to the DAMC, this represents annual salaries of nearly $29 million.