Cultural Economic Development

The Greater Ann Arbor Area's arts & culture scene is recognized as one of its most valuable assets - enriching not only the quality of life in our region, but also serving as a catalyst for economic development.

Cultural Economic Development (CED) is a strategic initiative that seeks to promote economic prosperity for our region by investing in and strengthening arts & culture nonprofits in Washtenaw County and Plymouth.

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Arts & Economic Prosperity IV Study

Conducted in partnership with the Americans for the Arts (AFTA) and The Arts Alliance, this study found that nonprofit arts & culture activities and events annually generate $100 million in economic impact for the Greater Ann Arbor Area.

The study also found that, on average, an arts & culture participant spends $27.67 in our local economy—or nearly $50 million total—above and beyond the price of attending the event.

The study validates that arts & culture organizations play a vital role in the economic health of our local community, and that promoting the sector's growth means greater economic impact.

Three-Part Strategy

Recognizing both the cultural and economic importance of the arts to our community, AAACF designed a three-part strategy to expand community support for our creative sector:

Convening community stakeholders to identify great ideas and opportunities

Many funding institutions are currently working in relative isolation around arts & culture projects. AAACF is building relationships with a diverse range of businesses, government units, individuals, nonprofits, and others to identify great ideas for economic impact by the arts & culture sector.

Collecting and sharing data on the local economic impact of arts & culture activities

AAACF fosters the collection, analysis, and dissemination of local data relating to the arts & culture sector. Economic data help nonprofits strengthen their case for support, provide a potential community dashboard to gauge overall progress over time, and help the community make data-driven decisions regarding arts & culture initiatives.

In addition to our collaboration with AFTA, we support DataArts, an online management tool designed to strengthen arts & culture organizations. The DataArts system, which is emerging as the national standard for data collection in the arts & culture sector, gathers reliable, longitudinal data on the sector.

Mobilizing private resources to make creative investments

AAACF is gradually changing the nature and magnitude of how we support arts & culture organizations in the Greater Ann Arbor Area. We seek to grow our support for the arts (alongside ongoing growth of our funding for health and human services).

We also continue to introduce new forms of support that potentially offer a greater potential for impact than traditional project-based grantmaking.

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