It’s undisputable. Arts programming – particularly the performing arts and interactive arts – has a positive impact on a community’s economic prosperity. A study of 91 communities measured the effect that arts programming had on household incomes. They looked at employment, local spending, non-local spending, and local and state government revenue. Its findings? America’s nonprofit arts industry has a significant impact on the nation’s economy.
The economic story of Tacoma Creates
In 2002, the findings of this study prompted the U.S. Conference of Mayors to pass a resolution urging U.S. mayors to invest in the arts, specifically as a viable means to spur economic growth. The city of Denver took the findings to heart, creating the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District with remarkable economic success. Then the idea to pursue cultural funding here in Washington State began after a trip to Denver to study their successful strategy. The resulting state legislation is what allowed Tacoma Creates to be conceived and enacted by voters.
Tacoma Creates advances and stitches together nearly every goal identified in Tacoma’s 2025 Strategic Plan. A “yes” vote for Prop 1 helps address human and social needs. A “yes” vote helps create opportunities for lifelong learning, provides greater health and safety, and helps build great civic spaces. Your “yes” vote – and those votes that you can encourage – helps to create a flourishing arts and culture sector. And that helps build a vibrant and diverse economy.
You’ve already seen it work
Beyond our own city limits, the most recent Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity Survey reports that cultural organizations generate $137 million annually in economic impact. But what about here? What about in our town?
Significant public and private investments boosted our cultural facilities in both the Theater and Museum districts. And we’ve seen the economic return. In Tacoma, cultural arts contribute $86,035,000 to household incomes and support 3,656 full-time jobs. And those numbers will grow through Tacoma Creates. People who attend cultural arts programs spend, on average, $20.23 per person, per event, on meals, parking, and childcare. And that’s beyond the cost of admission.
Through Tacoma Creates, we can broaden that impact from the downtown area to the districts throughout the city, including your own neighborhood. Expanded arts and culture will get us out of our houses and into our venues and businesses, but they will also draw others from outside the community. According to the Economic Prosperity Study, 73 percent of Tacoma cultural arts attendees live outside Pierce County. Plus, their average event-related spending is even higher, at $30.87 per person, per event. That’s new money for our city.
Expedia and Sunset magazine recent touted Tacoma as a city known for the arts. Tacoma Creates will reinforce and leverage that growing reputation, making our city a desirable destination for conventions, tourism and business. With your vote, we can make Tacoma an even better place to live and work.
A vote for Proposition 1 is a vote for opportunities to participate in arts, culture, science and heritage programming, regardless of your life circumstance.
Vote “yes” today.