Wayne Strickland, executive director of the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC), recently presented a report entitled, “Economic Analysis of the Arts and Cultural Industry” to Roanoke City Council. The report was requested by the City of Roanoke as part of the RVARC’s FY 2018 work plan.
Sixteen organizations which provide programming to citizens of the Roanoke Valley participated in the report based on FY 2016 data. The last report was conducted in 2013. Strickland presented the following notable statistics:
- The Arts and Cultural sector supports over 200 full-time and part-time jobs.
- The Arts and Cultural Industry helps generate $35.8 million in sales activity in the region because of new dollars attracted through visitation/tourism.
- While typically not the sole destination or attraction, arts and cultural organizations play a very significant role in supporting tourism in the region.
- The size and impact of the local industry sector based on the expenditures of arts and cultural organizations is $40.7 million.
- Revenues increased by about $7 million since the last survey in 2013. A significant part of that was an endowment increase of $3.5 million but ticket sales and individual donations were also up.
Strickland noted that, “Over the years, arts and cultural organizations have had a fairly significant economic impact on the economy of the Roanoke Valley. Although this report looked specifically at dollars spent by the local arts and cultural organizations and through visitor spending, we know that there are intangible impacts associated with a healthy arts and cultural scene, such as providing opportunities for students to participate in performing and visual arts activities and creating a strong positive perception of the Roanoke Valley by visitors and businesses.”
Mayor Lea also stressed the importance of the arts and cultural industry to the region by saying, “City Council understands that these organizations not only draw tourists and serve our citizens but they are an important contributor to the education of our children. Multiple studies show how studying the arts increases critical thinking skills, discourages delinquency, and leads to higher achievement across all disciplines.”