The arts have a multi-million dollar impact on Hopkins economy

Hopkins Center for the Arts on Mainstreet opened in 1997. “If Stages Theatre and Hopkins Center for the Arts were not downtown, you wouldn’t be seeing the vibrant impact from arts and culture that you have downtown right now,” said Sheila Smith, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. (Photo Courtesy of Hopkins Center for the Arts)

The arts have a multi-million dollar impact on Hopkins’ local economy, according to a newly released study by Creative Minnesota.

The study quantifies the impact of the nonprofit arts sector in 15 communities across the state. Of those communities, Hopkins ranks first in event attendance and spending per attendee.

The economic impact is more than $11 million annually, with audiences alone bringing in more than $7 million annually. The organizations spent more than $4 million.

There were about 255,000 attendees of the city’s nonprofit arts scene in 2017. The average attendee spent $27.58 at local businesses, such as restaurants, gas stations and other stops on the way to and from the event. Nonlocals spend even more. This money would not have been spent in the community unless the event had occurred, according to the report.

The economic impact adds about $1.2 million to state and local government revenue and supports 276 full-time jobs.

“Arts and culture organizations are important employers and economic engines,” said Sheila Smith, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, a Creative Minnesota partner.

Hopkins’ organizations engaged more than 123,000 young people in the arts, which was by far the largest number among the study areas.

The arts development decisions made in Hopkins, such as the construction of Hopkins Center for the Arts in 1997, made the difference that set the city apart.

“If Stages Theatre and Hopkins Center for the Arts were not downtown, you wouldn’t be seeing the vibrant impact from arts and culture that you have downtown right now,” Smith said.

Eleven nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Hopkins were part of the study. The organizations vary in discipline: performing arts, multipurpose arts, visual arts, architecture and history.

In addition to Hopkins Center for the Arts and Stages Theatre Company, the organizations included were Friends of the Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins Westwind Concert Band, JazzMN, Art ASAP, Mentoring Peace Through Art, Reach for Resources, Hopkins Historical Society and Augustana Care and Vail Place.

Mayor Molly Cummings said, “Hopkins has been committed to fostering the arts throughout the city for many years. We feel strongly that the arts enrich people’s lives, both our residents and visitors, and that the arts are an important economic driver. The city is always exploring new ways to expand the reach of the arts.”

Indeed, the city has been exploring the possibility of welcoming Artspace, a nonprofit real estate developer that supports affordable artist housing, in the downtown area. A study, largely funded by the Metropolitan Council, is currently underway, to determine if Artspace would be feasible in Hopkins.

“In Hopkins, art connects people through shared experience, provides an economic stimulus, adds interest and beauty to everyday life, sparks conversation and celebrates diversity. What else can do all of that?” said Kersten Elverum, the city’s director of planning and development.

County

At about 39,400 people, Hennepin County has the largest community of artists and creative workers in the state. Creative workers are people who make their living wholly or in part by working in one of 41 creative occupations. The most common creative occupations in the county are photography, music and graphic design.

Collectively, they spend about $268 million per year on things such as art supplies and studio rental. The community’s top need is space. This spending generates about $35 million in state and local government revenues.

The average hourly wage for artists and creative workers in the county is $25.48, which is below the average worker’s hourly wage of $30.73.

State

The combined economic impact of nonprofit arts organizations, their audiences, artists and creative workers is more than $2 billion statewide annually: $819 million spent by nonprofits, $644 million spent by artists and $564 million spent by audiences.

There are 1,601 nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the state. That is 332 additional organizations since the 2015 study. The state and local government revenue from the arts sector exceeded $222 million in 2017.

There are more than 104,000 Minnesotans who identify as artists or creative workers. Thirty-four percent are retired, hobbyist or student artists; 42 percent are part-time artists; 24 percent are full-time artists.

According to the report, Minnesotans tend to be artsier than the average American.

Seventy-six percent of Minnesotans attend arts and culture events, compared to 68 percent of Americans. Sixty-three percent of Minnesotans are personally involved in creative activity in their every day life, compared to 49 percent of Americans.

The study noted that, despite similar populations, Minnesota has double the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations than Wisconsin.

The report is available at creativemn.org.

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I am the reporter for the Sun Sailor, covering Minnetonka, Excelsior, Shorewood, Tonka Bay, Deephaven, Greenwood, Woodland and the Hopkins School District.

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