Value of the Arts


The value of a vibrant arts community to Eugene’s reputation as a great place to live is difficult to quantify, but a new study shows what a true economic powerhouse the arts are to local businesses.

Eugene’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated nearly $124 million in economic activity in 2022, according to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) report, an economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts.

Some additional highlights of how the arts impact the local economy:

In all, 1.1 million people attended local arts events in 2022, accounting for $33 million in event-related spending, more than $10 million of that by the nearly 150,000 attendees who were not local residents.

“The arts and creative industry is a connective tissue that threads itself throughout our community,” says Stacey Ray, executive director of the Lane Arts Council. “This study is important because it shows that the arts are critical to our economic health, in addition to the social and cultural vibrancy of Eugene.”

Nationally, the AEP6 study reveals that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $151.7 billion industry. Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. The study is conducted every five years.

The Arts & Business Alliance of Eugene played a lead role in gathering local results, joining with the Lane Arts Councils and the City of Eugene in collecting 975 surveys from attendees at 60 distinct events and 84 local arts organizations.

“As I delved deeper into understanding our community, my appreciation grew for the incredible richness of artistry and culture that blesses Eugene,” says Kelly Johnson, ABAE executive director. “From enchanting marimba concerts at Cozmic Pizza to active participation in the Oregon Asian Celebration and survey collection at the Hult Center, this study significantly expanded ABAE’s network and deepened our knowledge of our community.”

AEP6 is also the only national study to give a broader picture of audience spending. When attendees go to an event, they may also pay for parking, eat dinner at a restaurant, enjoy dessert after the show, and return home to pay child or pet care.

Nationally, the typical attendee spends $38.46 per person per event, not including the cost of admission. In Eugene, the overall average was $29.87, with out-of-town attendees spending $68.73.

Jeff Weinkauf, general manager AIC of the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, says he sees and hears the economic impact of events at Eugene’s premiere venue.

“Last year the Hult Center distributed just shy of 200,000 individual tickets to arts events here in Eugene,” he says. “We know that each of those patrons represents more than a single transaction, but rather layer upon layer of economic impact throughout Lane County. It’s a story we are hearing directly from the businesses and restaurants around us, about how much they notice the increase in volume any time we have a run of shows.”

Jazzy Ladies Café & Club, which hosts live jazz music, is especially vibrant on theater nights, says owner Michelle Reid. “The air is just filled with joy as a restaurant full of people anticipate a fun night at the theater,” she says.

The economic boost from attendees at the First Friday ArtWalk in downtown Eugene has been obvious, Ray says. “As they explore the dozens of galleries, businesses, and venues throughout the ArtWalk footprint, they get introduced to all kinds of restaurants, businesses, artists, and vendors,” she says.”

While the economic effects are key, the arts also have a way of enriching both residents and visitors alike in more profound ways.

“Cultural arts, including the arts, humanities, and history drive engagement and provide important experiences for residents and visitors alike,” says Kari Westlund, president and CEO of Travel Lane County. “Encompassing a wide range of community assets and human creativity, culture is the glue that binds us together, makes a community unique, and helps to draw visitors and their dollars to the local economy.”

For more details on how the arts affects our local economy, see the full report at

Published On: November 29, 2023
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