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Nat’l survey: Arts & culture industry pumps $180M into Puerto Rico’s economy

Nonprofit organization Americans for the Arts, which focuses on research and advocacy, released the “Arts and Economic Prosperity 6” (AEP6) study, which found that the arts sector contributed about $180.1 million to Puerto Rico’s economy in 2022.

In total, the nonprofit arts and culture industry injects $151.7 billion into the United States and Puerto Rico’s economy, the group stated in the study, which includes the role of the arts in diverse and underrepresented communities and seeks to bring equity to data and reduce systemic research bias.

The study surveyed more than 224,000 audience members and arts and culture organizations across 373 communities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, where it collaborated with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture on behalf of the government of Puerto Rico to collect the data.

The breakdown of the $180.1 million for Puerto Rico includes nearly $51.7 million in expenditures by industry organizations and $128.4 million by audiences, comprising $49 million by locals and nearly $80 million by visitors attending events on the island.

More than 1.5 million residents and tourists attended arts and culture events in Puerto Rico. The study revealed that locals made up nearly 95% of attendance, spending an average of $64 per event, while tourists accounted for 5%, spending an average of $76 per event.

In terms of total economic benefits for the island, the study found that arts organizations generated 1,442 jobs on the island, contributing nearly $47 million in payroll.

“In the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 91 of the 355 total eligible nonprofit arts and culture organizations identified by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture provided the financial and attendance information required for the study analysis — an overall participation rate of 25.6%,” the nonprofit stated, suggesting the possibility of higher impacts for the island if more organizations participated in the research.

Finally, the study also surveyed event-goers to learn about their appreciation of arts and culture events. Most of them, 94.8%, said they felt the “activity or venue is inspiring a sense of pride in this neighborhood or community,” while another 91.1% said the “venue or facility is an important pillar for me within my community.”

“AEP6 expands beyond those topics to include measures of social impact. Surveys completed by individual attendees in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico demonstrate an appreciation for how the arts and culture impacts the development and well-being of the community and its residents,” the study showed.

Puerto Rico Museum of Art gets ‘Access for All’ grant
In related news, the Art Bridges Foundation, the national arts nonprofit founded by philanthropist Alice Walton, announced the launch of a new grant, “Access for All,” providing $40 million to 64 U.S. museums, including the Puerto Rico Museum of Art.

While the exact amount of the grant was undisclosed, the goal of the funding is to “increase access to museums across the country and foster engagement with local communities by covering the costs of free admission days and expanded free hours as well as programming, outreach and community partnerships that together, will eliminate many common barriers to access.”

“Everyone, no matter where they live, deserves access to art. That’s why we started Art Bridges: to support museums in deepening their connections with local communities, and to pave the way for new audiences to experience the creativity and joy that comes with seeing art,” said Alice Walton, founder and chair of Art Bridges and heir to the Walmart empire.

María C. Gaztambide, executive director of Puerto Rico Museum of Art said, “we can’t wait to infuse the museum with new energy, develop programs that resonate with our diverse public, expand partnerships and welcome more community members than ever before.”

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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