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Loop arts, culture responsible for $2.25B annual economic impact

Posted  5 years ago

Press contact: Jessica Cabe | PR and Communications Manager, Chicago Loop Alliance | jessica@chicagoloopalliance.com | 312-782-9160


CHICAGO—For the first time ever, a study has been commissioned by Chicago Loop Alliance to determine the economic impact of arts and culture in the Loop, and the findings prove that this industry is a major economic driver for the Loop and the City of Chicago as a whole.

In total, arts in the Loop are responsible for $2.25 billion in economic impact to the Loop and Chicago each year, driving $113.5 million in Loop restaurant revenue, $81.3 million in Loop real estate revenue, $78 million in Loop hotel revenue, $63 million in Loop retail sales, $43 million in transportation and parking revenue and $40 million in tax revenue ($34 million for the State of Illinois and $6 million for the City of Chicago).

For the first time in the nation, the impact of free, public art was analyzed in the study, revealing that visitors to Chicago’s iconic public art create an annual impact of $250 million by spending on things like hotel stays, restaurant meals, retail shopping and transportation.

In addition to data on the economic impact of the arts, Chicago Loop Alliance’s report offers robust information on the people who take advantage of arts and cultural offerings in the Loop and their behavior when they’re here.

With an annual visitation of 28.4 million, the Loop benefits from an average of 77,800 Loop arts attendances per day, more than double the daily count of theater visitors to Times Square. And more paid admission visits are made to the arts institutions in the Loop (7.3 million) than to all of Chicago’s professional sports teams combined (6.7 million).

Visitors to the Loop’s arts and cultural offerings are loyal, and they take advantage of the variety of arts assets available to them: The typical visitor comes into the Loop 12 times a year specifically for the arts, visiting 2.2 arts destinations per trip. The Loop’s arts attendees are more diverse than the national average, and attendees who live in Chicago itself are decidedly younger than those attendees from outside the city.

Data analyzed in the report came from arts institutions themselves as well as more than 12,000 online surveys completed by visitors to the Loop.

"Chicago Loop Alliance is dedicated to supporting the growth and development of the Loop, and part of that is facilitating research that brings about a better understanding of what makes the Loop tick," said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards.

With the release of this study, arts organizations are better equipped to grow their support and to understand the behavior of their patrons, stakeholders in the tourism industry are able to tailor their efforts in marketing Chicago with an emphasis on the Loop’s robust arts and cultural offerings, and members of the business industry are able to use the data to drive site selection.

"We’ve been able to show with hard numbers that arts and culture play a huge role in the economy, and based on thousands of heartfelt survey responses, they also represent the soul of the city of Chicago to both residents and visitors alike," Edwards said. "We believe the information in the study will be used by arts, tourism and economic development organizations to strengthen their operations, which will ultimately strengthen the Loop as a whole."

Chicago Loop Alliance’s Arts in the Loop Economic Impact Study was conducted by HR&A Advisors, Inc., and ArtsMarket, Inc., and was written by ArtsMarket’s Louise K. Stevens. The study can be found at www.loopchicago.com/artsintheloop.

About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA), the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, creates, manages and promotes high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. For more information, please visit www.LoopChicago.com.