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COCA Launching Arts Impact Survey

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Leon County’s Council on Culture and the Arts will soon be trying to get updated information on the local economic impact of the arts. COCA’s leadership estimated the effort will take nearly a year to complete.

The project is under the direction of Dr. Kevin Carr, COCA’s grants program manager.

“COCA is partnering with Americans for the Arts to do an economic impact study that’s part of a national study to show the true overall impact that the arts have on our community,” Carr said. “The last time this study was done was in 2009 and we showed that Tallahassee/Leon County has over $74 million annual impact in terms of the arts and culture on our community.”

As huge as that $74 million figure seems, Carr says it’s really not too surprising given the size and vibrancy of the area’s artistic community.

“I’m currently putting together our survey and there are almost 300 independent arts organizations and non-profits that are in Leon County,” he explained, adding that will be a big part of the impact survey. “We’ll meet with and contact all 300 of those organizations to collect economic data. But then the other important part that I’ll be doing over the next year is going to performances to collect audience surveys and this is an important part where we need the public’s help. We’re actually trying to see and measure how much you spend when you go to an arts performance.”

Carr admitted it would be a big job.

“We’re going to collect over 800 of those surveys throughout the year at arts and cultural events. You’ll see me and COCA all over the place over the next year and we need the public’s help to collect these surveys. It’s an anonymous survey; it’s a very brief survey.”

He stressed it’s an important survey, since it will give local policy-makers a better sense of just how closely artistic and economic activity is linked. Carr expects that impact could be considerably more than the 2009 estimate because there’s so much more going on now.

“The impact that Southern Shakespeare, Tallahassee Music Week and that the Word of South Festival for example will have on the community is going to be palpable and I think that everyone needs to understand as the economy continues to grow so will the arts and cultural component of our economy,” he said.

So, if you happen to be attending one of the area’s many cultural events over the next several months and a nice guy comes up and asks if you have a moment to take a survey, he very well be Dr. Kevin Carr or one of his pals at COCA.