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This article was published 8/12/2009 (2753 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Twice as many people attend the professional arts in Winnipeg as compared to the number who attend professional sports events.
The Winnipeg Arts Council's new economic impact study, released Tuesday, shows that the city's arts and creative industries contribute $1 billion to the economy and employ 25,000 people, or 6.3 per cent of the labour force.
The city's 12 professional arts and cultural groups fill 1.9 million seats each year, a figure that WAC executive director Carol Phillips says is double that of our three professional sports teams.
"I'm not surprised in any way," Phillips said in an interview Tuesday. "The level of cultural activity is obvious when you experience it. But when you've got numbers to back it up, you see the reality."
But the study, titled Ticket to the Future and conducted this past year by Prairie Research Associates, also showed that the city's arts funding has declined from $6.32 per capita to $5.98.
Phillips says the decline is largely the result of the city's population increase and static WAC funding, which has sat at $4.1 million since 2007.
Winnipeg sits in the "middle of the pack" in its level of arts funding compared to other Canadian cities, Phillips says.
Figures released late last month by a Hamilton-based research firm showed that the Manitoba government funds culture at the second highest rate in the country, at $110 per capita. Saskatchewan ranked No. 1 at $118.
But when the federal contribution is factored in, Manitoba drops to No. 6 nationally, $231 per capita.
"It's hard to complain about being in the middle," Phillips said. "Look at all we have accomplished with that."
A Winnipeg bookstore owner says the WAC study seems entirely credible.
"I know there will be some members of the public who won't believe it, but it rings true to me," said Kelly Hughes, the proprietor of the second-hand store Aqua Books and Eat! Bistro downtown.
"Artists live on almost nothing. The salaries and grants paid to them stay here. The money isn't going to some offshore account in the Cayman Islands."
The WAC study is the first phase in a plan to develop a new strategy for investment for the arts in Winnipeg, Phillips says.
The second phase, coming in 2010 as part of the city's Cultural Capitals designation, is a document that will make new recommendations in the wake of the successful Buchwald Arts Review Panel in 1997.
"Virtually all of Buchwald's 10 top recommendations have been implemented," Phillips said. "Now we want to move into the future. Sustainable development and flourishing culture are independent, and both need investment."
By the numbers
Here are some key numbers from Ticket to the Future, the city's new arts and creative industries economic impact study.
There are more than 3 million visitors annually to Winnipeg museums, concert halls and art galleries, including 500,000 from outside the city.
The 115 non-profit arts organizations surveyed spent $66 million themselves, the vast majority in Winnipeg.
Winnipeggers volunteer 1.6 million hours a year to the arts, the equivalent of 800 full-time jobs.
Tourists spent $85 million in 2007 attending the arts in Winnipeg.
Every dollar of municipal funding attracts $18.23 in support from the private sector and the provincial and federal governments.
Municipal arts funding per resident has declined from $6.34 per resident in 2007 to $5.98 in 2009.
1.9 million seats are filled annually by 12 professional groups (Manitoba Theatre Centre, Manitoba Museum, Folklorama, Manitoba Children's Museum, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Festival du Voyageur, Rainbow Stage, Prairie Theatre Exchange and Royal Winnipeg Ballet)
The three professional sports teams, the Manitoba Moose, the Winnipeg Goldeyes and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, filled 930,000 seats.