The not-for-profit arts and culture scene in Eugene has a significant impact on the city’s economy, one that is above average when compared with other communities of similar size, according to a recent study released by Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy group.
Nonprofit arts groups and their audiences in Eugene spend an estimated $45.6 million a year, according to data collected in 2010 and 2011.
That spending is directly responsible for 984 local full-time-equivalent jobs: nonprofit employees, hospitality industry positions at restaurants and hotels, and others, the study found.
When indirect spending is factored in — the assumption that recipients of arts-related dollars are themselves spending some of that money in the local economy — the nonprofit arts and culture scene becomes tied to 1,739 full-time jobs in Eugene, according to the study.
Jobs directly linked to the arts aren’t particularly well-compensated, with incomes averaging $21,000 a year in Eugene — though that’s in line with arts and culture job incomes ranging from $20,000 to $25,000 a year in communities of comparable size.
When compared with 27 other communities with populations between 100,000 and 250,000 that took part in the national study, Eugene’s overall arts-related spending is above the $43 million average, and is tied to more full-time jobs than the average of 755 direct jobs and 1,278 indirect jobs in those communities.
The study compares Eugene both with communities that spend very little on the arts — such as Wayne County, N.C., or McKinney, Texas — and others that easily outpace it — such as Providence, R.I., or the greater Charlottesville area in Virginia.
A total of 182 communities nationwide took part in this fourth installment of American for the Arts’ “Arts and Economic Prosperity" study.
The advocacy organization provides the methodology and crunches the numbers, while local communities collect the data and cover a portion of the study’s costs.
It was Eugene’s first participation in the study. The city put $5,000 toward the study, while the Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene and the University of Oregon’s Center for Community Arts and Cultural Policy each contributed $2,500.
About 31 percent of eligible nonprofit groups in Eugene took part.