Coronado loves art, and that can mean big business, a study has found.
For every dollar spent by an arts and cultural organization in Coronado, an additional $1.83 is generated in its economy. By comparison, San Diego County’s average yield is $0.87 per dollar spent.
“Nonprofits are a powerhouse that are contributing to our local economy,” said Deb Kaller, chair of the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission, at the Dec. 19 meeting of the Coronado City Council.
Coronado participated for the first time in the Arts and Economic Report, a nationwide study hosted by Americans for the Arts, which quantifies the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industries within cities. Kaller and her colleagues presented the results of the study to council at Tuesday’s meeting.
The study found that Coronado’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations spent $13.9 million on their events in 2022, while audiences spent $25.3 million attending them. Attendees spent an average of $45.34 per person per event attended.
Nearly half of that audience spending was on food and drink, with retail shopping, clothing and accessories, supplies and groceries, lodging, and childcare constituting the rest of it.
Representatives from the CCAC said the study yielded useful insights for continuing to bolster the local arts and culture community.
“We believe that a collaboration with Discover Coronado, the (Coronado) Chamber of Commerce, and Coronado MainStreet would foster more opportunities to engage our businesses,” said Dawn Richards, vice chair of the commission.
One idea, she said, is to work with restaurants to stay open late after certain events and direct attendees there if they’d like to grab food or a drink afterward.
The report also helps the commission understand its audiences. Richards said the commission was surprised to learn how many of their audience members came from outside of Coronado. While audiences were 40% Coronadans, 46% of attendees came from San Diego County, and the rest came from someplace else.
And outside guests spend much more than local audiences do. In Coronado, residents spent $36.86 per event attended, while non-locals spent $98.78.
“Knowing that nonlocals spend more here and add to our economy, it makes sense to have an emphasis on cultural arts tourism,” Richards said. “A focus on this type of tourism would cement Coronado’s reputation as a locus for art.”
The study examined 373 regions within the country. In Coronado specifically, the CCAC surveyed 29 organizations and attended 16 local events to survey audience members. Coronado joined the study in collaboration with other local cities, at a cost of $2,550. City Council approved the city’s participation in the study in 2021.
Results also analyzed volunteer hours: In Coronado, 2,004 volunteers gave 85,533 hours toward arts and culture organizations and events.
The City Council agreed that art is important, not only to the ethos of the city, but also as a force to bolster the economy.
“One of the things that I’ve always cared about as to why we fund the things we do,” said Councilmember Carrie Downey, “is if it’s what the residents want to do with their money.”
She said she was glad to see high local attendance at events, but more importantly, the volunteer hours cemented the CCAC as a wanted public good.
“Why are we doing all this?” she continued. “Well, because all of those 2,000 people. This is how they want to spend their time. This is an activity, just like we want recreation activities, we want passive recreation.”