- Twenty-two cultural, college and university arts programs pumped
nearly $2 million directly into the Hattiesburg-area economy during
the past year and generated a secondary financial impact of more
than three times that amount.
a 2002 study completed by The University of Southern Mississippi's
College of the Arts and the university's Center for Community and
Economic Development, nine nonprofit cultural organizations and
13 cultural outreach programs of Southern Miss and William Carey
College reported budgets totaling $2,009,055 for the year. The two
institutions of higher learning accounted for $1,332,054 of the
more than $2 million annual budgets, $1,967,691 was spent in the
Hattiesburg Metropolitan Area," said the report, titled Economic
Impact of the Arts 2002. "A secondary economic impact... amounted
economic impact, according to the study, was based on a conservative
estimate that the initial direct spending stimulated an additional
3.21 turnover ratio of dollars when applied to the portion of the
budgets spent within the Hattiesburg regional economy. Extensions
of the raw data were based on ratios from the National Endowment
for the Arts.
our study can show the importance of the link between the arts and
our local economy," said William B. Sisson, director of the
Southern Miss-based center. "This study illustrates not only
the social importance of the arts, but also the economic role of
the arts to our community."
of the study, initiated last July, were announced at a breakfast
gathering of members of the Area Development Partnership Feb. 7
at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg. The results
were compiled and published through a collaborative effort between
the Southern Miss center and College of the Arts. Partners for the
Arts, a support organization for the college, also sponsored publication
of the study.Data gathered from 22 arts organizations in the Hattiesburg
area showed the combined organizations had 36 full-time and 56 part-time
employees (a total of 55 equivalent full-time workers) and annual
audiences of more than 140,000 people.
visual and performing arts programs attract 78 percent of their
audiences from the two-county region Forrest and Lamar counties
and 22 percent from outside the area, according to the report.
Residents of the two counties with a combined population
of 111,674 attend an average of 1.26 cultural events per
resident annually. According to a 1997 survey by Americans for the
Arts, a national arts organization based in Washington, D.C., national
audiences spend an average of $21 over and beyond the price
of a ticket for meals, transportation, entertainment, etc.
study validates what we've always known in the arts community, but
couldn't back up with statistical analysis," said Dr. Mary
Ann Stringer, dean of the Southern Miss College of the Arts, an
institution that produces more than 300 arts events per year alone.
"Vital, energetic arts programs bring different things to a
communityone of these is dollars."
Using a model
developed by the National Endowment for the Arts, questionnaires
developed by the Southern Miss Center for Community and Economic
Development were distributed to cultural organizations in the area.
A separate questionnaire was sent to the university and William
Carey College, specifically seeking information on outreach programs
organizations involved in the study included the Hattiesburg Arts
Council, the Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera Association, the Historic
Hattiesburg Downtown Association, Just Over the Rainbow Theatre,
the Saenger Theatre, and Partners for the Arts, to name a few.
Arts Council is grateful to the College of the Arts, and to the
Center for Community and Economic Development for including the
community arts organizations in this important study," said
Patti Hall, council director. "I am pleased to have a document
that we can use to share the importance of the arts and their substantial
contribution to the local community.
community appreciates its supporters and patrons of the arts in
our area. They are the reason for this success," she added.
Miss, some of the programs used for data collection included university
bands, symphony, choral activities, theater seasons, Repertory Dance
Company, percussion, jazz and the Southern Miss Museum of Art.
programs included statistics gathered from the Lucile Parker Gallery,
the Winters School of Music, and the Department of Theatre and Communications.
culture defines the community," Sisson told ADP members. "The
central truth has not been lost on economic development professionals
and the rest of corporate America. Placing importance on the arts
is a calculated business decision, such as relocating a corporate
the real world, where employees raise families, clients are entertained,
and executives are wooed, the arts have a tremendous effect on the
image a city projects and, by extension, the business a city does,"