Good data can lead to better decision-making in public life. In 2013, the state of Michigan increased funding for the arts for the first time in more than 10 years. It is no coincidence that this followed the publication of the first Creative Sector Michigan report, which shared powerful data about the contributions of the nonprofit arts and cultural sector to Michigan’s economy.
Statewide, arts and culture organizations contributed 16 percent of the total $13.1 billion in tourism dollars generated the previous year. That’s more than golf, boating, hunting, fishing, hiking and biking combined. How do we know this? Because the arts advocacy group ArtServe Michigan tracks the outcomes of 785 arts and culture organizations through its Cultural Data Project. With Community Foundation support, the project has become a valuable tool for understanding the creative sector and heightening awareness regarding its importance to our region and state.