New report from ArtsKC – Regional Arts Council and Americans for the Arts lays out the numbers

Nonprofit arts and culture in the Kansas City area have staged a strong post-pandemic comeback that’s stoking the local economy, according to a new report from the ArtsKC – Regional Arts Council and Americans for the Arts.

“The pandemic was devastating to the arts,” Randy Cohen, vice president of research with Washington-based Americans for the Arts, told KC Studio. “But they’ve re-opened, they’re working their way back. 2022 was a recovery year, and in 2022 the nonprofit arts made up a $615 million industry in this region.”

Cohen gave a report on the economic and social impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in the Kansas City area (Clay, Jackson, Platte, Johnson and Wyandotte counties) on March 7. The report was prepared by ArtsKC, which hosted two local events where the information was presented and discussed.

The report says nonprofit arts generated $615 million in spending in the Kansas City area during fiscal year 2022, based on survey responses from 267 organizations that hosted 4.5 million attendees. The total spending comprised $435 million in outlays by organizations and $180 million from audiences.

“The impact of that is huge,” Cohen said. “In the five-county metropolitan area, nonprofit arts supported 8,977 jobs in 2022. The arts aren’t just food for the soul, they’re putting food on the table for 8,977 households in the Kansas City metro area.”

Along with jobs, nonprofit arts in the Kansas City area generated $97.5 million in local, state and federal government revenue, the report says.

Based on a survey of 1,787 attendees, the average attendee at a Kansas City area arts event spent $37.06 beyond the cost of admission. That extra spending went for items such as food and drink, childcare, lodging, local transportation and buying new clothes to wear to a show.

Thirteen percent of those who attended area arts events journeyed here from outside the five-county region. Their total event-related spending averaged $60.37, compared with $33.58 in spending by local attendees. Seventy-nine percent of non-local attendees said the arts event was the primary purpose of their visit.

The report also notes the social impact of nonprofit arts. Eighty-nine percent of surveyed attendees said the arts and culture inspire a sense of pride. Seventy-two percent agreed that arts and culture provide shared experiences with people of different races, ethnicities, ages and beliefs. Sixty-three percent said arts and culture help them better understand other cultures in their community.

“When we invest in the arts, we’re not investing in a frill or an extra or a nice-to-have,” Cohen said. “We’re investing in an industry that provides cultural benefits and economic benefits and attracts people who are spending money at local businesses.”

The Kansas City area is one of 373 communities included in the Americans for the Arts “Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6),” the organization’s sixth national study of the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry.

Compared with the other communities surveyed, the Kansas City area “came out ahead of the median,” Cohen said. “If you look at regions with a similar population, this one comes out very strong.”

ArtsKC promotes, supports and advocates for arts in the Kansas City metro region. Each year, ArtsKC programs directly benefit more than 437,000 people and indirectly benefit more than 1.8 million people through ArtsKC-supported organizations.

ArtsKC is a member of Americans for the Arts. Cohen lauded ArtsKC as an “exemplary local arts agency” and said President and CEO Dana Knapp is an “acknowledged leader in the industry.”