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Arts Impact Alberta 2014

Ripple Effects from the Arts Sector

January 28, 201528 January 2015

Business support for the arts / Economic and social benefits

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This report examines the benefits “for people, communities and the economy” of arts organizations receiving operating funding from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) over a seven year period (2006-2013).

In addition to statistics from operating funding recipients, the report includes statistics from other sources, such as a public survey that was conducted in the province. The survey found that “85 per cent of adult Albertans attend at least one arts event per year, and over half (58 per cent) participate directly in an art form in their home or community”. The report argues that substantial intangible benefits can accrue from public engagement in the arts: “The arts provide distinctive pleasures, emotional and intellectual understanding, and cultural identity.”

The report outlines the economic and employment impact of organizations receiving funding from the AFA. The direct contribution to the province’s Gross Domestic Product is estimated at $110 million, while the direct employment contribution is estimated to be 3,008 full-time-equivalent jobs throughout the economy.

In terms of staffing, the 459 organizations receiving AFA operating funding in 2012-13 employed 3,430 people (or an average of 7.5 people per funded organization). Of these staff members, the vast majority worked part-time (2,747, or 6.0 part-time staff per funded organization). The remaining 683 people worked full-time (average of 1.5 full-time staff per funded organization).

The 459 funded organizations received support from 50,756 volunteers in 2012-13, for an average of 111 volunteers per organization. In 2012-13, volunteers contributed nearly 2 million hours to the 459 arts organizations, or an average of 38 hours per volunteer during the year (or 4,219 hours per organization). The report notes that “considerable work in the arts sector is done by volunteers. Indeed, many arts organizations are highly dependent on volunteer labour. The volunteer workforce in aggregate contributed more hours of work than the sector’s full-time employees and slightly less than half the time worked by part-time paid staff.”

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