The direct economic activity generated by nonprofit arts groups and their audiences adds up to more than $2.5-billion dollars in Pennsylvania, according to a new study by Americans for the Arts. “We pay our taxes, we spend in our communities and we create jobs,” explains Jenny Hershour, managing director of Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania.
The new study actually finds 81,000 full-time equivalent jobs and $360-million dollars being paid in taxes. “For this current fiscal year the General Assembly approved a budget that included $8.179 million dollars for grants to nonprofit arts organizations,” Hershour says. “If you compare that with $360-million that nonprofit arts organizations are generating for state and local governments, that’s a really good investment.”
Arts supporters in the General Assembly will soon be spreading that message with the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral arts and culture caucus in Harrisburg. Speaking at a news conference in the state Capitol rotunda, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) called the arts an essential part of the fabric of Pennsylvania.
“It is music to my ears,” Hershour told Radio PA when asked about the new caucus.