The city and the Redlands Arts Collaborative are launching a series of surveys to determine the economic impact of the cultural arts in Redlands.

Established nonprofit groups informally report record-breaking attendance, donations and sales, according to a press release. Out-of-town attendance appears to be increasing at events.

“Every dollar spent on the arts within the community has a multiplier effect,” said Allan Griesemer, chairman of the Redlands Arts Collaborative. “The challenge is that in spite of all these activities, we do not know the total economic impact of the arts on our community.”

Several of Redlands most well-established cultural arts organizations banded together to raise funds to conduct the study, including the Redlands Symphony, the Redlands Art Association, the San Bernardino County Museum, Footlighters, Inland Master Chorale, Redlands Bowl Music Festival, Lifehouse Theater and the Redlands Theatre Festival.

“The Redlands Symphony's board members are supporting this project because they realize that arts organizations contribute to the financial success of communities as well as adding to the overall quality of life to communities like Redlands,” said Paul Ideker, president and CEO of the symphony. “We hope this study will add another reason for people to participate and support the arts in Redlands.”

The Redlands City Council approved additional funding and support staff time to assign and manage the contract with the Americans for The Arts. Tabitha Kevari, community services department senior manager who also staffs the Cultural Arts Commission, will coordinate the project.

The Redlands study will mirror other studies conducted in more than 300 cities and will feed into a comprehensive national overview of the economic impact of the arts.  

New data released last year by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts offers insight into the impact that the arts have on the nation’s economy. The arts contribute $763.6 billion to the U.S. economy, more than agriculture, transportation or warehousing.

The California Arts Council found that nonprofit arts organizations add $2.159 billion to California's economy, create 115,000 jobs and generate $77 million in state and local tax revenues.

According to Americans for the Arts, the economic impact of arts and cultural organizations are unique. Unlike most other industries, they induce large amounts of event-related spending by their audiences. For example, when patrons attend a performing arts event, they may purchase dinner at a restaurant, eat dessert after the show and return home and pay the babysitter. These expenditures have a positive and measurable impact on the economy.

 “The Redlands general plan 2035 calls for the development of Arts and Culture Master Plan with community input and to foster economic growth based on arts and culture,” said Dennis Christensen, chairman of the Redlands Cultural Arts Commission. “In order for an arts and culture master plan to be successful, it’s important that it be rooted in economic reality. This study is an essential part of that process.”