The arts are a gift to Austin

Published 7:39 am Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas, Austin!

The Austin Area Commission for the Arts wrapped up a gift for you. It’s sitting under the tree. What is inside? The arts-— a gift that improves Austin’s economy, property values, quality of life, civic engagement and education outcomes.

In 2016, approximately 15,500 people attended events at the Historic Paramount Theatre, Austin ArtWorks Festival, and Austin ArtWorks Center. An estimated 80 percent were local, generating $9.77 in local spending each beyond the event ticket price. An estimated 20 percent were visitors and generated $22.21 in local spending BEYOND the event ticket price. In total, $189,999 in local revenue was generated by the arts in Austin this year. (Spending formula from Creative MN report 2015.)

Email newsletter signup

In Mower County, the Austin Area Commission for the Arts employs the equivalent of 3.5 full time employees. In addition, over the last year the AACA generated over $48,000 in commission income for 104 artists selling hand-made items in our retail store. AACA art classes generated over $5,000 in income for 16 instructors teaching art classes for youth and adults. Like other occupations, arts jobs help local households to pay property taxes and support local businesses.

Austin’s strong arts environment helps our employers attract and retain workers by boosting the quality of life. Because of global competitive pressure, many companies rely on a creative professionals to innovate product lines and add value through design. These creative professionals prefer to live in communities with a thriving arts and culture sector. (Source: National Governors Association, The Conference Board)

The arts make neighborhoods attractive places to live, work and play which enhances property values. In 2014, the AACA contributed to the revitalization of Downtown Austin by remodeling and occupying the old bank building at 300 North Main. (Source: Social Impact of the Arts Project/The Reinvestment Fund)

Students engaged in the arts perform better academically. Numerous longitudinal research studies have documented that students who receive arts education exhibit improvements on standardized test scores including reading and math. The pay-offs increase for at-risk youth. Participation in arts programs decreases at-risk young people’s involvement in delinquent behavior. (Sources: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies/Arts Education Partnership; The College Board; National Endowment for the Arts; Arts Education Partnership; U.S. Department of Justice)

Finally, the arts help create an environment where people feel welcome and are more likely to engage in aspects of community life such as voting and volunteering. (Sources: National Endowment for the Arts; Americans for the Arts; Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities.)

The gift of the arts to Austin is possible, in part, because of members and donors. Learn more about membership at

Coming soon at the Paramount Theatre:

•Jan. 14: Winter Dance Party with the D.C. Drifters

Coming soon at the

ArtWorks Center:

•Jan 7: Kids Studio Saturday morning classes resume, $5

•Jan. 3: Paul Walech-Roth Show in fine art gallery opens Jan.  3