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Study to Tally Economic Impact of Area Arts Groups

APRIL 14, 2006--The St. Croix Valley Community Foundation, along with seven other partners including UW-River Falls, is sponsoring a study that will focus on the economic impact of nonprofit arts, cultural and historic organization in the St. Croix Valley.

Part of a national research project involving more than 100 communities across the country, the Arts and Economic Prosperity Study will be conducted by the Americans for the Arts. The study will assess the economic contribution of arts and historical organizations to the local economy, including the related spending of the audiences who attend such events over the next nine months.

“Residents and visitors both acknowledge the special charm of the historic small towns that dot our riverfront and countryside,” said John Potter, executive director of study partner, the Phipps Center for the Arts. “And arts and historic organizations are an integral part of our appeal. This study will give us important information to show how cultural organizations enrich and strengthen our communities.”

Partners include ArtReach Alliance, Northern Lakes Center for the Arts, the St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance, the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation, Hugh J. Andersen Foundation along with the SCVCF and UW-RF.

The study is specific to the lower St. Croix Valley and watershed and includes nonprofits in river towns along the Minnesota border as well as Wisconsin’s Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties. It will build on data from a similar statewide study recently completed in Minnesota, but focus only on the bistate region of the St. Croix Valley, which was under-represented in the Minnesota report.

“We urge all local nonprofits to participate,” said Ron Erickson, president of the St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance. “This is a vital opportunity, allowing each of us to demonstrate our worth and make the case for our local arts economy.”

The study will include a confidential expenditure survey collected from local nonprofit organizations; confidential surveys of audiences attending local events; and an analysis by project economists using a customized input/output model based on local census and economic statistics.

The final report will be available spring 2007 and disseminated to media and local officials.

As part of the broader study, the results will also receive notice from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties. The leading nonprofit organizations for advancing the arts in America, Americans for the Arts will also provide project partners with a series of advocacy tools to support the case for private- and public-sector arts funding. Other national participants include rural towns and urban cities ranging in population from 50,000 to 3 million.

The SCV project is being funded with a subsidy from the Wisconsin Arts Board and a grant from the Hugh J. Andersen Foundation.

For more information about the study, contact Jill Shannon, SCVCF director of community partnerships, at 715-386-9490 or by e-mail at


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