It is often said that art feeds the soul. It’s seldom said that the arts nourish the economy. Last year, nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the Coachella Valley generated $110.9 million in economic activity, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study released in October by the advocacy organization Americans for the Arts.

The figure excludes commercial venues such as casinos, Acrisure Arena, and the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals.

AEP6 gauged the economic impact — on employment, tax revenue, and household income — of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and the event-related spending by their audiences. The La Quinta–based California Desert Arts Council rallied 40 Coachella Valley arts organizations to participate in surveying their audiences.

The $110.9 million figure supported 1,623 jobs, provided $57.6 million in personal income to residents, and generated $19.5 million in tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments.

When attending a performance, exhibition, or a festival, we sometimes also pay to park, dine at a restaurant, shop near the venue, and pay for child or pet care. In the Coachella Valley, attendees spent an average of $77.02 per person per event (beyond the cost of admission and food and beverage purchased at the event) — vital dollars to local merchants.

Arts and culture also attract tourism. In the Coachella Valley, 28.3 percent of attendees traveled from outside the region, and each spent an average of $156.94 — that is, 245 percent more than local attendees — beyond the cost of admission and on-site food, beverage, and souvenirs. Of those “visitor” attendees, 47 percent said that the primary purpose of their visit was to attend the event or venue where they were surveyed. More than 45 percent of visiting attendees reported an overnight lodging expense (an average of two nights) as a result of attending the event. Not surprisingly, these attendees spent considerably more during their visit—an average of $263 per person.

In terms of tax revenues, spending by Coachella Valley nonprofit arts and culture organizations contributed a total of $9 million, and event-related spending by audiences generated an additional
$10.5 million.

Meanwhile, nonprofit arts and culture organizations employed administrators, artists, box office staff, ushers, tour guides, custodians, graphic designers, accountants, printers, maintenance staff, builders, plumbers, and an array of contractors spanning many industries.

The arts are not just an amenity; they are a key contributor to today’s economy and a sector worthy of our investment.

We encourage you to experience the surprising diversity of art, music, theater, dance, film, architecture and design, literature, and heritage events throughout the Coachella Valley and consider becoming a donor to your favorite nonprofit presenters.

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