The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is a Core Managing Partner of the Arlington Cultural District (ACD). The ACD spans a walkable stretch along Mass. Ave. from East Arlington’s Capitol Square to the Civic Block in Arlington Center and includes a wide array of cultural assets including the Arlington Center for the Arts, Regent Theatre, Capitol Theatre, Cyrus Dallin Sculpture Museum, the Old Burying Ground, Uncle Sam Plaza, and the Historic Jason Russell House.
Bound together by both Mass. Ave. and the Minuteman Bikeway, the ACD showcases the Town’s natural beauty, history, and contemporary arts and culture offerings.
Arlington businesses benefit in numerous ways from the town’s strong arts & culture scene. The ACD provides numerous marketing opportunities for Arlington’s businesses and the Chamber plays a pivotal role in helping businesses to develop relationships with arts organizations and keeping the business community apprised of new developments within the ACD.
Economic Benefits of the Arts
Arts strengthen the economy. Arts and cultural goods in the U.S. added $764 billion to the economy in 2015 and included a $21 billion international trade surplus. The arts represented a larger share of the nation’s economy (4.2 percent of GDP) than transportation, tourism, and agriculture (source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $166.3 billion in economic activity annually (spending by organizations and their audiences), which supports 4.6 million jobs and generates $27.5 billion in government revenue.
Arts drive tourism and revenue to local businesses. Attendees at nonprofit arts events spend $31.47 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters—valuable commerce for local businesses. 34 percent of attendees live outside the county in which the arts event takes place; they average $47.57 in event-related spending. Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences.
Arts spark creativity and innovation. Creativity is among the top 5 applied skills sought by business leaders, per the Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate report—with 72 percent saying creativity is of high importance when hiring. Research on creativity shows that Nobel laureates in the sciences are 17 times more likely to be actively engaged in the arts than other scientists.
Arts drive the creative industries. The Creative Industries are arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and design companies. A 2017 analysis of Dun & Bradstreet data counts 673,656 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts—4.0 percent of all businesses and 2.0 percent of all employees.
Arts improve academic performance. Students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs, standardized test scores, and lower drop-out rates. These academic benefits are reaped by students regardless of socio-economic status. Yet, the Department of Education reports that access to arts education for students of color is significantly lower than for their white peers. 88 percent of Americans believe that arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education