Manatee County’s Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry Generates $47.4 Million in Economic Activity in 2015

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Manatee County’s Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry Generates $47.4 Million in Economic Activity in 2015

BRADENTON, Fla — The nonprofit arts and culture industry in Manatee County generates $47.4 million in annual economic activity in Manatee County, supporting 1,260 full-time equivalent jobs, and generating $5.8 million in local and state government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, a national economic impact study. Conducted by Americans for the Arts in 2015, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 is the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in the U.S.

“This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse, both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and help local communities become stronger and healthier places to live. Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”

Americans for the Arts collaborated with 250 study partners to conduct the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, which documents the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in 341 communities across the U.S. A custom economic analysis was used for each of the participating regions to determine the economic impact of its nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and arts audiences. To assist in determining the economic impact in Manatee County, Realize Bradenton joined Americans for the Arts as a study partner, funded by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Realize Bradenton worked with nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Manatee County who provided information about their operating revenues and expenditures. These organizations also conducted 900 surveys of random audience members to capture information about spending at arts and culture events.

The study revealed that nonprofit arts and culture organizations are active contributors to economy in Manatee County, reporting $14.4 million in spending during 2015. These organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services, and acquire assets. These actions, in turn, support jobs, generate household income, and generate revenue to local and state governments.

Event-Related Audience Spending
In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry allows for event-related audience spending by patrons. As a result of attending a cultural event, patrons often dine at local restaurants, pay for parking, stay in a hotel, purchase gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. Event-related spending by these patrons in Manatee County totaled $33 million in 2015.

“This study validates that the arts, culture, and heritage industry represents a significant portion of the economy in Manatee County,” said Elliott Falcone, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This industry segment allows us to diversify our marketing outreach and supports visitation on a year-round basis. It is also a vital aspect of business development in our community, which maintains quality of life for residents.”

Growth of Arts and Culture in Manatee County

According to the last Arts & Economic Prosperity study in 2007, the arts and cultural economic activity in Manatee County was $29.4 million and has since grown to $47.4 million in 2015. Opportunities to participate in arts and culture in Manatee County has expanded as well.

A 2008 cultural master planning process produced a 10-year plan to leverage arts, culture, and heritage to build economic development, cultural tourism, and civic engagement in downtown Bradenton. As a result, Realize Bradenton, a nonprofit organization, was formed in 2010 to implement key elements of the plan, in conjunction with the City of Bradenton, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and other partners from the business, educational, cultural, and civic sectors. Over the past 10 years, Manatee County has seen the expansion of the Manatee Performing Arts Center, arts and culture on the barrier islands, growth in heritage attractions, and numerous events, including the Bradenton Blues Festival.

“The 2016 Bradenton Blues Festival attracted more than 3,000 people from 32 states and 9 foreign countries in 2016, giving significant exposure to Bradenton,” said Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton. “The impact of this event is far-reaching, producing a large economic impact to the Bradenton area.”

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About Realize Bradenton
Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that brings people together to create a vibrant and prosperous Bradenton area. For more information visit:

About Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Bradenton Area CVB promotes tourism to Manatee County and the communities of Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, Bradenton, and Lakewood Ranch through domestic and international advertising, public relations, and marketing efforts. For more information visit:

About Arts & Economic Prosperity 5
The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. Financial information from organizations was collected in partnership with DataArts™, using a new online survey interface. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, visit


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