The City of Ocala is pleased to announce its participation in Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States. Administered by Americans for the Arts, AEP6 will examine the economic impact of the arts and culture in Ocala/Marion County and 386 additional communities representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity® series is conducted approximately every five years to gauge the economic impact of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and the event-related spending by their audiences. In 2017, AEP5 documented that the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity (spending by organizations plus the event-related spending by their audiences) which supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in government revenue. In Ocala/Marion County the industry generated $56 million in economic activity which supported 1422 FTEs and generated $2.4 million in local government revenue and $3.7 million in state government revenue. The AEP series demonstrates that an investment in the arts provides both cultural and economic benefits.

Audience-intercept surveys will be collected from attendees to arts events in Ocala/Marion County from May 2022 through April 2023—in total, the national sample is anticipated to surpass 250,000 surveys. A survey of nonprofit arts and culture organizations will occur from January through April 2023. The national and local findings will be made public in September 2023. At that time, Ocala/Marion County will receive a customized report on the unique economic impact results for Ocala/Marion County

including the number of jobs that are supported and the amount of government revenue that is generated by our community’s nonprofit arts industry.

Americans for the Arts is committed to addressing equity and inclusion as a critical component of the methodology, organizational participation, and collection of data for AEP6 by centering and representing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying communities—a segment of the nonprofit arts and culture sector that has been underrepresented in past studies.

For the first time, AEP6 will require that the local and state research partners collect a portion of audience surveys from attendees at events hosted by arts and culture organizations that primarily serve communities of color. The AEP6 study will establish a benchmark of arts and culture organizations that primarily serve communities of color and the audiences that attend their events. It will also identify organizations that have a chief executive who identifies as BIPOC/ALAANA. Researchers will use this data to calculate and report on the economic impact of the BIPOC/ALAANA arts sector in each of the participating communities.

“The 2017, AEP5 Study indicated the tremendous integration and value of the arts by our community with a $3 return on investment for each $1 spent, double the national average,” said Laura Walker, Cultural Arts and Sciences Division Head for the City of Ocala. “The value of arts in our community includes economic investments as well as educational, community placemaking, and an overall sense of community heritage and aesthetic enhancement, that leads to additional private investment and continued community development. Our local study is being funded through a generous contribution from Americans for the Arts, the City of Ocala, and Marion County.”

Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, commented, “The arts are economic catalysts—strengthening the economy by creating jobs, generating government revenue, and driving tourism. Community is where the arts make a difference, and while the national impact data are impressive, at its core, AEP6 is a local story. I look forward to seeing its results, which will be key in persuading decision-makers that the arts benefit all people in all communities.”

For more information and a full list of the communities participating in the AEP6 study, visit www.americansforthearts.org/AEP6.

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