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Victoria's arts and culture sector flourishing: report

UVic study says sector creates huge economic benefits for entire region

Anyone involved in arts and cultural organizations in Greater Victoria would argue passionately for the value their activities bring to the community.

For a second time, however, an economic impact study completed by a business professor at the University of Victoria has quantified that value.

A report unveiled Monday by the Victoria Foundation, Capital Regional District Arts Development Service and other industry stakeholders placed the total economic activity generated by arts and culture activities in the Capital Region in 2012 at $177.3 million.

The total is about $7 million higher than the previous study done for 2010.

“The overall growth of the sector is evidence of the strength and resiliency of the arts and culture community as a whole,” said CRD arts committee Chair David Screech. “The report shows us that arts and culture continues to play a significant role in our local economy.”

The report stated that $139.8 million of the total remained in Greater Victoria and created $14.1 million in property tax revenue.

The study was done by a group led by Brock Smith from UVic’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. It took into account economic activity related to full- and part-time artists and hobbyists, arts and cultural businesses and organizations, and the pre-and post-event expenditures of patrons attending performing arts events in Greater Victoria.

The full report is available at

The ProArt Alliance, an advocacy group that includes the region’s largest companies doing theatre, dance, music and visual arts, applauded the results of the survey.

“In addition to the benefits of employment and a significant contribution to the local economy, what can also be inferred from the study is the importance citizens place on the arts as a key social benefit for a community,” said Alliance president Ivan Habel.