When you think ‘Boston arts,’ the big names come to mind, like a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts, or a night at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. But the vein of cultural influence runs much deeper than the obvious art institutions in the city. In fact, the 2014 Arts Factor report, culled by ArtsBoston and longtime partner and sponsor Bank of America, found that the arts in Boston is a $1.4 billion sector.
The first-time study, according to ArtsBoston’s Catherine Peterson, proved just how powerful of a force Boston’s art scene is in the city.
“[It] really shows what a powerful impact we have on the region, beyond what people do know already,” said Peterson. “There’s an incredible wealth of variety here in Boston, and it’s letting people know that there’s a rich, vibrant cultural community that they can take part in.”
Peterson also echoed one of they key points made by the Arts Factor study: Boston boasts more arts and cultural organizations per capita than any other U.S. metro area, with 50 organizations for every 100,000 residents. This intensive community pumps $1 billion worth of direct spending into the community through admissions, with an addition $450 million dollars coming from revenue earned outside of admissions.
Bank of America’s Bob Gallery said that from a business standpoint, the arts not only draws people from other industries and students in, it keeps them in the region. Peterson added that the number of jobs that the arts brings to the city aren’t going anywhere, either.
The arts sector adds 26,000 jobs to the Boston economy, and according to Peterson, “those jobs aren’t going to be outsourced.”
To put some of the numbers that the Arts Factor found during research into perspective, the report found that enough people visit Boston’s art institutions to sell out Fenway Park 488 times, meaning 18.3 million attendees per year are utilizing the city’s art and culture resources. Meanwhile, and speaking of sports, 4.5 times more people visited art and culture institutions than Boston’s sports teams – the Celtics, Patriots, Bruins and Red Sox – put together: 4.5 million sports attendees versus the 18.5 million art attendees.
And contrary to popular belief, engaging in the arts doesn’t have to be expensive. According to the data, 40 percent of people who visited for free. According to Peterson, the median cost of admission throughout 2013 was $16 due to the number of free events, made possible by partnerships with companies like Bank of America, which, according to Gallery, “realize the public good, the economic impact and the public good of supporting arts and culture.”
To learn more about the Arts Factor report, and some of the stats they discovered, check out the infographic below, and visit ArtsBoston to download the complete report.