“Cigarette tax for arts and culture has generated $65 million at halfway point” (Plain Dealer 11/5/11)
Cigarette tax for arts and culture has generated $65 million at halfway point
Since 2006, when Cuyahoga County approved a 10-year cigarette tax to support local arts and culture, more than $65 million has been awarded to 150 arts organizations across the region.
That’s the figure released Thursday by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the public entity that administers the tax dollars, at the halfway point in the initiative.
“We have long been saying that the arts and culture aren’t just extras,” said Karen Gahl-Mills, the organization’s executive director, in a statement.
“It’s extremely gratifying to have the data now to back up that statement. We’re not just paying for things that are nice to have; we’re investing in the infrastructure of this county and helping to make it the world-class region that we all know it can be.”
Arts groups funded by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture generated more than $280 million in economic activity in 2009, the organization reports, and they employed more than 5,000 staff and contractors.
Since the cigarette-tax funding became available, many of these groups have expanded offerings of cultural activities by 25 percent to almost 24,000 events and classes each year.
Cuyahoga Arts and Culture reports that attendance at free and paid events is up by seven percent, to more than 7.7 million annual visits.
Arts and education programming for children is up as the result of the cigarette tax, with more than 1 million students attending arts and culture events each year . And after-school and weekend classes and workshops have increased by 103 percent, with tuition for paid classes dropping by 8 percent.
To read Cuyahoga Arts and Culture’s 2010 Report to the Community, go to bluetoad.com/publication/?i=70051.