The Chicago Loop Alliance is an organization formed to attract people and investment to the Loop. The Alliance supports public cultural and artistic events that benefit the business community.
The Alliance projects and programs include beautification and enhanced services, planning and advocacy, placemaking and management, and economic development.
We live in an age where the importance of arts and culture are being debated in education and public life. Our supposed betters do not see the importance of art and culture from the perspectives of beauty, luring people to cities, and economics, the cold hard cash they leave behind and the businesses and jobs created or thriving because of art, culture and their institutions.
The Chicago Loop Alliance commissioned the "Arts in the Loop Economic Impact Study."
The study demonstrates a "deeper understanding of the impact the large collection of arts and cultural assets in the area have on the Loop economy."
The geographic area for the study constitutes Lake Shore Drive to the east, the South Branch of the Chicago River to the West, Congress Parkway to the South, and the Chicago River to the north.
The study includes 72 cultural and arts institutions, approximately 120 public art installations, over 50 architecturally significant buildings, adding up to about 250 cultural and artistic assets.
The study shows a direct economic impact on the Loop between art, cultural institutions, architecture, and public art.
Here are some of the numbers:
- The arts are responsible for $2.25 billion in economic impact in the Loop and the City of Chicago. This includes $1.4 billion from the institutions, $600 million from visitors, and $250 million from visitors to public art who spend their money on meals and shopping in the Loop.
- Art in the Loop is responsible for $113.5 million in restaurant revenue, $81.3 million in real estate revenue, $78 million in hotel revenue, $63 million in Loop retail sales, $43 million in parking and transportation, and $6 million in tax revenue to the City of Chicago.
- Arts in the Loop are responsible for 15,500 full-time jobs.
- Every dollar spent on arts and culture generates $12 in economic impact in the Loop.
The study delves into other facets of the economic impact of art and culture in the Loop, including 6000 artists from all fields work in the Loop. There are art and cultural teachers at universities located in the loop. All contribute to the economic impact.
We live in a time when art and culture, and spending on art and culture, are being minimized. It is considered unnecessary. These numbers do not lie. There is a direct positive economic impact of arts and culture on the Loop and the city as a whole.
Chicago has some universally accepted world-class institutions, like the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago has old and modern world-class architecture and the popularity of various architecture tours proves this.
Even public art, whether it is the Picasso, Calder, or permanent and temporary art displays in the parks, on sidewalks, or other public spaces, contribute to bringing money, jobs, and tax revenue to Chicago.
28.4 million people visit the Loop each year. 77,800 people visit or attend art related or cultural activities each day.
The numbers speak for themselves in attendance, participation, dollars, and tax revenue. The arts and culture are important to this city.
It is time that artistic and cultural institutions and displays be given more weight in Chicago. Chicago has a rich history of art and culture. We cannot rely on government and wealthy benefactors alone to keep art and culture alive and well.
Everyone can participate to keep the arts and cultural institutions healthy. When you visit a museum, become a member. Membership saves you money in the long run through free admission plus, you may get discounts or free admission to other institutions.
Donate to our institutions. Even small-dollar donations help.
Volunteer to be a docent.
Find a way to support local and neighborhood artists either buying or promoting their work.
Spread the word. Become a shameless booster of art and culture for Chicago.
Contact your aldermen. Tell them how important art and culture is for Chicago and your ward.
Art and culture enrich our lives, allows us to appreciate beauty in all its forms, and as the study shows, has a direct and indirect economic impact on our city. The momentum is moving forward in the Loop. We need more forward momentum throughout the whole city.
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