December 15, 2018
Study Profiles Mass. Arts and Culture Nonprofits

October 9, 2017 —Nonprofits focused on the arts and culture support the equivalent of 73,000 full-time jobs and spend $1.39 billion annually in Massachusetts, according to a recently completed study of the economic impact of those organizations.

Audiences of those Massachusetts nonprofits spend an additional $880 million, raising the total annual spending related to arts and culture nonprofits in the state, including operating and capital expenditures, to $2.27 billion.

The national study, undertaken by Americans for the Arts, examined spending and related activity in fiscal year 2015 and included data from 643 Massachusetts nonprofits.

Massachusetts arts and culture nonprofits spend 97.8% of their funds on operating expenses, and the remaining 2.2% on capital expenses, the study found. That compares with 95.2% and 4.8%, respectively, to the national picture.

The 97.8% that Massachusetts nonprofits spend on operating expenses breaks out as follows: 51.8% for personnel, 37.7% for programmatic, production, and overhead expenses, and 8.3% for facility expenses. Nationally, those numbers average 53.2%, 35.2%, and 6.8%, respectively.

Massachusetts arts and culture nonprofits attracted 53,473 volunteers in 2015, the value of whose work collectively totaled $32.9 million. States, on average, attracted 42,201 volunteers during the same time.

In 2015, Massachusetts arts and culture nonprofits reported that 29.7 million people attended their events, 88.4% of whom were Bay State residents.

Massachusetts residents spent an average of $24.57 over and above the cost of the event itself, while out-of-state visitors spent an average of $47.17. Meals and drinks accounted for the largest share (43%) of those expenditures. Nationally, meals and drinks accounted for 39.% of ancillary spending by people attending arts and culture events.

James Canales, president of the Barr Foundation in Boston, which funded the study, said the findings will help inform a campaign around the theme of "arts means business," to convince policymakers of the importance of the arts to the state and regional economy, according to a report published by MassLive.

Total nonfarm employment in Massachusetts during the same time was 3.5 million, and the state's gross domestic product, or GDP, was about $500 billion.

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