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Local non-profit arts and culture sector is $1.4 million industry


Contact 1: Erin Chesnut


MARTIN, Tenn. – The national “Arts and Prosperity 5” study, conducted by Americans for the Arts, recently concluded that the non-profit arts and culture sector in Weakley County is a significant contributor to the local economy, generating $1.4 million in local expenditures.

According to the study, the eight non-profit arts and cultural organizations in Weakley County that chose to participate in the study spent just over $211,500 and leveraged approximately $1.2 million in additional spending by their audiences, for a total of around $1.4 million.

These organizations and their audiences ultimately generated approximately $160,000 in local and state government revenue. This only includes organizations and audience members who responded to the survey, so the actual economic impact is likely much higher than recorded.

“We are fortunate, especially for a rural community, to have an array of opportunities to be exposed to in the arena of art and cultural experiences,” said Brad Thompson, director of community development for the city of Martin. “The university institution here in our own backyard has pushed us, in a positive way, to expand our horizons as a community through joint celebrations, events and collaborations.”

The University of Tennessee at Martin participated in the study as one of 250 partners nationwide. Previous studies have concentrated on large metropolitan areas, however this study included rural areas for the first time.

The Tennessee Arts Commission provided a grant to fund the local research component, while students from UT Martin’s Ned Ray McWherter Institute provided the manpower to collect more than 530 surveys from audience members and participants at various local arts venues in 2016, including the Tennessee Soybean Festival, and concerts and theatrical performances at both Westview High School and UT Martin. Dr. Charles Bradshaw, UT Martin Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages, directed the grant.

The national results from “Arts and Prosperity 5” include data from more than 340 communities and regions representing all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. More than 14,000
organizations and 212,000 event attendees participated nationwide, making this the largest
national arts study ever conducted. “Arts and Prosperity 5” specifically seeks to examine how the arts have advanced since the end of the Great Recession.

Project economists from the Georgia Institute of Technology analyzed the collected data and customized an analysis model for each participating region.

To see complete national and local survey results, visit


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