Defined here as the combined expenditures of Houston’s arts and cultural nonprofits by fiscal year, the total spending measure gauges how much money the region expends on cultural programming and output.
As one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, Houston has experienced a remarkable degree of economic development over the past decade, and the arts community shared in this increased prosperity. A recent study conducted by the Houston Arts Alliance and University of Houston found that the economic impact of the City of Houston’s creative sector in 2011 amounted to more than $9.1 billion, outpacing the arts industries in other major cities in Texas (HAA & UH, 2012). The indicator data discussed here do not attempt to gauge the economic impact of cultural institutions, but spending by cultural organizations within Houston serves as a reflection of the growing influence of the arts and culture organizations in the region.
Per capita arts spending in New York, Boston, and San Francisco – regions with some of the most recognized and established arts and culture destinations in the country – exceeds Houston’s by more than double. To fully appreciate the magnitude of this disparity, consider that Houston would have to maintain its current 65 percent rate of spending growth per decade through 2029 just to match San Francisco’s 2010 per capita arts spending figure of $254 a person. However, when excluding these three regions, Houston nearly matches the average spending amount among the 10 remaining comparison regions with $98 per person.
Houston Arts Alliance, University of Houston, Greater Houston Partnership, & EMSI, “The Creative Economy of Houston,” 2012, Retrieved from : http://giarts.org/sites/default/files/The-Creative-Economy-of-Houston.pdf.