The Sioux Falls Arts Council Unveils the Results of a Study Measuring Economic Impact of Local Arts Industry

Findings reveal the non-profit arts and culture industry generates $35,037,688 in annual economic activity in the Sioux Falls area, supports 1,324 full-time equivalent jobs, and generates $1,470,000 in local government revenues.

Sioux Falls—The Sioux Falls Arts Council, in conjunction with the South Dakota Arts Council and Americans for the Arts, and working closely with Sioux Falls non-profit arts and culture organizations, commissioned a study in 2010 to examine the economic impact of the arts in the community. The local results of the national Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study directed by Americans for the Arts and coordinated locally by the Sioux Falls Arts Council shows good news. The results prove in detail what many people may not know—the arts make a significant contribution to the local economy. Specifically, the non-profit arts and culture industry generates $35,037,688 in annual economic activity in the Sioux Falls area, supports 1,324 full-time equivalent jobs, and generates $1,470,000 in local and state government revenues.

Non-profit arts and culture organizations, which spend $15,935,153 annually, leverage a remarkable $19,105,535 in additional spending by arts and culture audiences. Excluding costs of admission to events, arts and culture audiences spend on average $21.57 per person per event. This is a substantial local economic impact: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services, and acquire assets within the community while audiences spend money locally on meals, hotel rooms, and gas, among other things. Those dollars, in turn, generated $30,585,000 in household income for local residents.

The 35 participating organizations also reported an average of 40.7 volunteers who volunteered an average of 68.7 hours each, for a total of 2,796 hours per organization, 97,860 total hours. In addition, the 35 participating organizations reported that they receive in-kind contributions with an aggregate value of $782,391 during fiscal year 2010. These contributions were received from a variety of sources including individuals, corporations, local and state agencies, and government.

The most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States, the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study was directed by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. The study was coordinated locally by the Sioux Fall Arts Council and funded by a grant from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation with funds matched by the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and Forward Sioux Falls.

Non-profit arts and culture organizations (not including individual artists or for-profit arts entities) completed a survey detailing budgets and attendee totals for FY 2010. In the Greater Sioux Falls Area, (Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, and Turner counties) 35 of the approximately 63 total eligible nonprofit arts and culture organizations identified by the Sioux Falls Arts Council participated in this study—an overall participation rate of 56 percent. The organizations that participated are listed below:

American Institute of Graphic Arts (South Dakota Chapter); Augustana College/Performing and Visual Arts; Brandon Historical Society; Brandon Valley Performing Arts Center; Center for Western Studies; Centerville Community Arts Council; Dakota District Pipes and Drums, Ltd.; Downtown Sioux Falls; Garretson Area Historical Society; Groove, Inc.; Groove, Inc.; Hurley Historical Society; Jubal Chapter of the American Harp Society; Lennox Area Historical Society; Minnehaha County Historical Society; National Music Museum; Native American Council of Tribes Inc.; New Horizons Band of Sioux Falls; RTC Inc.; Sculpturewalk Inc; Singing Boys of Sioux Falls; Sioux Empire Community Theatre; Sioux Falls Arts Council; Sioux Falls Concerts Association; Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society; Sioux Falls Mariachi Inc.; Siouxland Heritage Museums; South Dakota Friends of Traditional Music; South Dakota Highlanders Pipe & Drum Inc.; South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association; South Dakota Symphony Orchestra; Square Dancing / Shirts & Skirts; Ten Thousand Villages; The Ldn Spiritual Group; and Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science.

In order to obtain data about audiences, a sample of audiences from paid and non-paid events completed surveys reporting their home ZIP code, expenditures related to their event attendance, and other demographic and psychographic questions.

The number of organizations participating represents a percentage of those per study region, thus all reported data is conservative against actual totals.

Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, says of the project, “Understanding and acknowledging the incredible economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture, we must always remember their fundamental value. They foster beauty, creativity, originality, and vitality. The arts inspire us, sooth us, provoke us, involve us, and connect us. But they also create jobs and contribute to the economy.”

Non-profit arts and cultural events, programs, and groups have grown tremendously since the Sioux Falls Arts Council was first formed as an umbrella arts organization in 1969. The Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study shows that there is considerable interest in non-profit arts and culture locally. Momentum has been building for a long time and much has been accomplished, but, there is much more that can be done to build a stronger local arts scene. There is now compelling evidence that a stronger, more robust non-profit arts and culture scene will continue to improve the local economy and lead to an even better quality of life for all Sioux Falls residents.

Non-profit arts and cultural organizations in Sioux Falls owe a debt of gratitude to city and county governments for support of the arts, and to the many generous donors, sponsors, visitors, and supporters of non-profit arts and cultural activities throughout the Greater Sioux Falls Area. We thank them generously for their continued support.

The Sioux Falls Arts Council is located in the Crane Centre at 8th and railroad, 326 East 8th Street, Suite 106B.  Hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and by appointment.  For more information, please, call 605.271.6696, email, or visit the Arts Council website at

For more information about the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study IV and Americans for the Arts, please visit

Additional Resources:
Aggregate Data Document
Sioux Falls Area AEP4 Summary Summary


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