ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) A new study says arts organizations and their audiences generate millions in spending and well over 1,000 jobs in the Roanoke region.
"Small investment, big return. That's what we get from the arts."
The bottom line Randy Cohen delivered Thursday morning might not have surprised the crowd that gathered in Charter Hall.
But advocates are hoping it will open the eyes of others to the economic impact of the arts in the Roanoke Valley.
"And so you know the arts, not just food for the soul," Cohen told the audience, "but putting food on the table."
The economic study conducted by the group Americans for the Arts said arts organizations and their audiences generate more than $64 million in spending, support more than 1700 jobs in the Roanoke region and produce $6.5 million in state and local revenue.
Cindy Petersen is the Taubman Museum's Executive Director.
"I believe that our community knows the worth of arts and culture and this just substantiates that as we go forward," she said.
"Don't think of it as a charity," said Jefferson Center Executive Director Cyrus Pace. "These are small businesses that are really driving our community in important ways."
Leaders of the Roanoke Cultural Endowment say it's important to quantify the impact of the arts as an economic driver, and to show that a modest investment can pay major dividends for the entire region.
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