Study: Arts provide economic boost to Providence

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence’s arts and culture industry generated nearly $206 million in economic activity in 2015, according to a new study from the nonprofit Americans for the Arts.

The report, known as Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, studied the economic contributions of the arts in 341 communities throughout the country. In Providence, the arts supported 5,115 full-time equivalent jobs and generated about $21 million in revenue for the city or state.

“In Providence, the immense impact of the creative economy is clear,” Mayor Jorge Elorza said in a statement. “Arts activity creates and sustains jobs for our residents, generates millions in revenue, and makes us a destination for tourists. As the Creative Capital, the arts help us attract and retain businesses and have revitalized our neighborhoods.”

Providence has long been considered a prime destination for arts enthusiasts, in part because of the Rhode Island School of Design and the WaterFire art installation along the Providence River. Elorza, a Democrat in his first term, has also won rave reviews for launching PVDFest, a music and arts festival held each June.

According to the study, nonprofits arts and culture organizations throughout Providence spent $93.8 million during the 2015 fiscal year and their audiences spent $111.9 million on related events.

“This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said in a statement. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live. Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”

Continue the discussion on FacebookDan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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