September 29, 2023
You are here:  Home  >  Regions  >  Central Coast  >  Current Article

Report finds nonprofit arts, culture vital to Central Coast economies


Americans for the Arts released a study on June 17 that demonstrates how support of regional nonprofit arts and cultural institutions is critical to regional economies.

The Washington D.C.-based nonprofit took a look at 341 communities nationwide, including Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, to measure the economic footprint of the arts in fiscal 2015.

The study found that arts and cultural institutions are vital to local merchants and the tourism industry. Beyond that, the institutions generate a secondary exchange of goods and services.

Nationally, this generated roughly $166.3 billion of economic activity in 2015 — 61 percent event-related expenditures by audiences and 39 percent expenditures by arts and cultural institutions.

For Santa Barbara County, nonprofit arts and culture industries had a robust economic footprint of $198.6 million — exceeding the national median of $88.3 million for similarly-sized regions.

San Luis Obispo County’s impact was below the comparable regional median, coming in at $27.7 million.

The counties supported a total of 6,773 nonprofit arts and culture jobs in the fiscal year, both full and part-time.

• Contact Matt Ackerman at