Arts Vibrancy & Economic Prosperity in Missoula

Missoula, Montana: Arts Vibrant & Prosperous

Missoula, Montana has been receiving quite a bit of buzz these days! The National Center for Arts Research released their 3rd Arts Vibrancy Index report and Americans for the Arts released their 5th Arts & Economic Prosperity study; Missoula included in both. Our little city has been truly humbled and inspired by the findings in both reports.

Missoula was ranked #4 in the top 10 list of Arts Vibrant Medium Sized Communities. Other cities in our category include Santa Fe, NM,  Asheville, NC, and Ithaca, NY.  According to the National Center for Arts Research, “Missoula, MT,  has an engaged and active population, who are just as likely to participate in outdoor recreation as they are to go to the symphony or attend a theater production…Throughout the year there are numerous festivals– film, literary, cultural, theater, dance, music (jazz, roots, choral, e.g.) – and monthly gallery walks.”

Missoula’s dedication to engagement, volunteerism, and the support of art related community efforts has truly paid off in terms of city recognition and artistic growth. According to the report, being ranked in this top 10 list of medium sized communities puts Missoula in the top 1% of populations our size! We ranked 12th in number of Arts and Culture Employees and 13th in State Art Grants. Which is quite an impressive feat. For the size and population of this Montana town, it’s easy to draw connections between the success of Missoula as a whole, and the success of our art community. This notion aligns with findings reported by Americans for the Arts in their Arts and Economic Prosperity Report. According to Americans for the Arts,

“Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 provides evidence that the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a significant industry in the City of Missoula—one that generates $54million in total economic activity. This spending—$20.4 million by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and an additional $33.6 million in event-related spending by their audiences—supports 1,913 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $39.2 million in household income to local residents, and delivers $4.4 million in local and state government revenue. This economic impact study sends a strong signal that when we support the arts, we not only enhance our quality of life, but we also invest in the City of Missoula’s economic well-being.”

Americans for the Arts explains that there are approximately 1,913 Full Time Equivalent – Nonprofit Arts and Culture jobs in Missoula. The median of jobs in similarly sized regions is about 512. Just 512! Evidence from the report also indicates that Missoula’s Local Government Revenue and State Government Revenue is higher in Missoula than in other towns our size. It was also determined that spending by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations totaled $20.4 million in the City of Missoula during fiscal year 2015. This spending includes organizations paying employees, purchasing supplies, contracting for services, etc. This spending action within the community supports Missoula’s local jobs, incomes, and government’s income.

The significance that Missoula, Montana has chosen to place on the inclusion of art and art services in our community has benefited us greater than we could have hoped. Missoula residents’ support of non-profits, art galleries, museums, artists, and events, provides a boost in our city revenue, tourism rates, and business. Without a doubt – The Arts Mean Business – as Americans for the Arts clearly states!

So, what does this mean?

It simply means, Missoulians should continue! “Keep on – Keeping on” with our artistic drive and involvement. Continue being an active and engaged audience member. Keep bringing your friends and family out for First Friday. Support your local arts & culture non-profits, museums and galleries. Go to art related events. Missoula is seeing this success because of the incredible culture of support that has been created by Missoula residents and tourists alike. Lets keep it up! ARTS Missoula is excited to see what the next decade holds for the art culture that is Missoula, Montana.

Links to both full articles:

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, Americans for the Arts

National Center for Arts Research, Arts Vibrancy Index