CMAB Executive Director Leslie LeCuyer presents at the Arts Economic Impact Study presentation. (Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)

ST. CLOUD - Creative Minnesota along with the Minnesota States Arts Board has released the economic impacts study in regard to the arts in Minnesota. Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright counties fall into Region 7W of the 11 regions in Minnesota.

The study found direct expenditures by art organizations in Region 7W was over $8.5 million, and the total arts and culture related spending by audiences was over $7.5 million, for a total of $16,434,387 of total economic impact.

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts executive director Sheila Smith says that's an increase from when the study was last done in 2006.

Smith says, "This is a $7.5 million increase since 2006. You're arts economy has more then doubled since 2006."

The total economic impact for the state was $1.2 billion dollars.

Part of the study was how much money was spent in each region from non-local attendees to arts events and from local attendees.

Smith says, "In central Minnesota you're non-local attendees spend fourteen percent more than local attendees." 

Central Minnesota Arts Board executive director, Leslie LeCuyer, says those numbers are critical to the economy.

"Tourism is one of Minnesota's number one industries, and bringing people, and having arts events attract those individuals from outside of the region," says LeCuyer, "They come, and they stay at the hotels, they spend money at the restaurants, and the economic impact is much greater."

Attendee spending averages $20.85 per person when they attend an arts event. That spending includes meals, transportation, lodging, souvenirs, clothing, and event related child care.

Smith says, "At each of these spots along the evening, you have created an economic interaction that you would not have done if you stayed home to watch TV." 

Central Minnesota now ranks fourth in the state in economic impact over the 11 regions. Jobs provided by the arts were also looked at in the study.

"The study found that 169 more jobs are supported in this region then we found in 2006," says Smith, "This is the third largest increase in arts jobs in the state behind Southeast Minnesota, and the Twin Cities Metro area."

LeCuyer says this study is essential to the arts community in Minnesota.

The whole study is available at