The Arts Is Driving Sarasota's Economy Today
A hot off the press survey shows that the economic impact of the arts in Sarasota is up more than 60% in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The area's arts and cultural leaders have long insisted that an investment in the arts and our inherent culture here is one of the best ways to keep Sarasota's post-recession economy humming and in fact, booming. Now fresh survey numbers back their argument.
A data-intense economic prosperity survey released this past weekend showed that the arts and cultural organizations and audiences/participants pumped $295 million into the Sarasota county economy in 2015, up 64% from $180 million in 2010, the last year the survey was taken. And Manatee county, participating for the first time since 2007, saw the impact on arts, cultural and heritage events going from $29.4 million to $47.4 million, a 61% increase.
Jim Shirley, executive director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, stated this about the results: "The thing that impresses me most is that...as the economy is coming back, the arts are not only remaining strong, they're kind of leading the way....This is something that says the arts are not only important in Sarasota county, they are a definite contributing factor not only to the well-being of our citizens, but the health of our economy." Shirley also pointed to the efforts by Visit Sarasota County, our local tourism bureau, as contributing to the increase in visitor attendance versus resident attendance.