For all those naysayers who doubt that art has a practical purpose, observe this encouraging piece of news about the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. A study from the Yale School of Management has shown an appreciable benefit to the economy of the greater Madison area in New Jersey. The study was commissioned by the Theatre in September 2010 and quantifies the spending of the Theatre, its audience, artists, faculty, and staff, and calculates the effect of that spending on the Madison area, which is defined as a 20 minute driving radius from Madison.
The comprehensive study conservatively estimates a $5.7 million dollar yearly impact on the Madison area alone, a 138% increase from a previous study in 2003.
Including additional factors, extending beyond the Madison area, the Theatre’s overall economic impact is estimated at $9.5 million. Furthermore, the study showed that audience members contributed $1.5 million in additional spending to the Madison area and that 62% of the Theatre’s institutional spending goes to local vendors. This study greatly strengthens the Theatre’s position when speaking to vendors, local government leaders, and donors about financial support.
In a time when arts programs are being shut down all over the country for lack of funds, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is a shining example of how the arts can stimulate local economic growth. “As a not-for-profit arts institution that brings hundreds of students from all over the country to New Jersey each year for the sole purpose of working with our Theatre, employs up to 200 actors, designers, and staff members, and welcomes 50,000 audience members through our doors each season, our state-wide impact is even more significant. Students, staff, and patrons are spending theatre-related dollars far beyond the immediate Madison area,” explained Bonnie J. Monte, Artistic Director of the Theatre. Even the most cynical would have trouble arguing with numbers and results like this.
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