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Local report touts economic impact of arts and culture

Cultural organizations in Western New York pump more than $352 million into the local economy every year, according to a new report from the advocacy group Americans for the Arts and the Buffalo-based Arts Services Initiative.

The report, released Monday, studied 126 cultural organizations in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany counties. It found that those organizations support 10,160 full-time equivalent jobs, contribute an estimated $40.3 million in local and state tax revenue and draw 896,109 tourists per year.

Arts Services Initiative Executive Director Tod A. Kniazuk said the report provides strong evidence for continued public investments in cultural groups.

“The fact that the cultural industry delivers $40.3 million back to local and state governments should end that argument,” Kniazuk said. “It’s not a one-way transaction. It’s an investment of public dollars into an industry that more than returns that investment.”

The report puts the economic impact of local cultural groups about 20 percent below the average for similar-sized regions. It also found that tourism accounts for about 14 percent of attendees at cultural events, while about 43 percent of attendees are local residents who said they would have “traveled to a different community to attend a similar cultural event."


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