Michigan’s arts and culture resources are a driving factor in the state’s economic growth and recovery, making a large impact on the economy even during one of Michigan’s most challenging times.
“If you look at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s research on arts and cultural tourism in 2010, it showed that more than $2 billion was spent on arts and cultural activities,” said Mike Latvis, director of public policy for ArtServe Michigan. “When you add up golf, winter skiing, boating and sailing, and hunting and fishing, that number is more than all of those other activities combined.”
In other words, arts and culture tourism represents 17 percent of the total tourism dollars spent – a pretty significant chunk.
Creative State Michigan is a resource put together by ArtServe Michigan demonstrating how the arts, culture, arts education and creative industries contribute to Michigan and its economy. Data was collected from the 211 organizations that had Fiscal Year 2009 data qualified by the Michigan Cultural Data Project on October 7, 2011.
The report also revealed the significant impact of state dollars invested in the arts and culture nonprofit sector. For every $1 invested by the state, the arts and culture nonprofit sector contributed $51 into the Michigan economy.
“We chose to start with 2009 because we were in the depths of the recession,” Latvis said.
A second report, covering fiscal year 2010, will be issued at the end of this year. Latvis expects the economic impact to continue to rise as more organizations contribute data, since Michigan is home to more than 2,000 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations.
ArtServe shared their findings with the governor’s office and key legislative leaders.
“The findings help indicate the importance of cultural tourism – something that outside of this research, you don’t often hear a lot about it,” Latvis said. “Our goal is to continue to use the numbers we have to really start to bring more arts and cultural related content into the Pure Michigan campaign.”
In the Arts & Economic Prosperity III study, Americans for the Arts asserted that communities investing in the arts reap the additional benefits of jobs, economic growth and a quality of life that positions those communities to compete in our 21st century creative economy. The study also found that cultural tourists spend more and stay longer than visitors who come to a region for other reasons.
George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, agreed that the state’s arts and cultural assets are a major reason why visitors are coming here.
“Arts and culture is obviously a very broad category of activities, events and places, and it is inclusive in everything we do. We don’t view it as a niche.”
He continued, “We have a lot of different Pure Michigan TV commercials. Many of the images and descriptions and things we feature in those are arts and culture related. One of our national advertising partners is the Henry Ford. Images of the Henry Ford and other institutions show up in a lot of our advertising.”
“Part of the process is to identify what the authentically cool experience is that place has to offer,” Zimmermann said. “The arts and culture experience of those places is often the best and what makes those places unique. Going through that process, we create an ad that highlights what we agree are the things that are most compelling about that area or region.”
Doing so helps bring in those cultural tourists, which in turn creates a big impact on Michigan’s economy.