SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Spending by non-profit arts organizations and audiences reached nearly $363 million in South Dakota in fiscal year 2022, according to a survey through a national organization.

“That’s just non-profits, that’s not the entire industry,” said Jim Speirs, the executive director of Arts South Dakota, a statewide non-profit arts organization.

The economic impact study was conducted for the state and in the specific areas of Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Yankton and Brookings. The South Dakota numbers are part of the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), which is an economic and social impact study by Americans for the Arts.

The study shows that non-local attendees spent an average $74 per event while locals spent an average $32. The average spent by all attendees was $35.79 or $36.

The spending numbers in the Rapid City area were $44.82 ($45) for local attendees, $96 for non-local attendees and $56.80 ($57) average for all attendees. A total of $203 million in expenditures, or economic activity, was generated in the Rapid City area. Of that $203 million, $183 million was spent by the attendees or audience.

The audience spending in Sioux Falls is $99.8 million and a total expenditures of $126 million when organization spending is included. The average local per person spending is $25; it’s $59 for non-locals and $38 average per person in both categories.

In Sioux Falls, that’s money spent related to a concert at the non-profit Washington Pavilion, for example. It’s doesn’t include the ticket price so it would include a dinner out or a hotel stay, for an out-of-town guest.

In Rapid City, that’s money spent related to an exhibition at the Dahl Events Center. Just like Sioux Falls, it could be dinner out or a hotel stay for an out-of-town guest.

Arts and culture events are responsible for 6,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the state, Speirs said. “That’s feeding families, paying the rent,” Speirs said

The economic and social impact study is a useful tool for state and local governments when they consider funding for arts activities, said Speirs and Jacqui Dietrich, the executive director of the Rapid City Arts Council.

“It’s certainly a powerful industry when you look at the economics side of it,” Speirs said.

But that’s only part of the power of the arts, Speirs and Dietrich said.

“The arts are (part of the) infrastructure for a livable community,” Dietrich said.

Dietrich cited that pride survey respondents had in the arts and the sense of loss they’d have if activities stopped. The report said 88% of respondents “agree that the activity or venue where they were surveyed ‘is inspiring a sense of pride in this neighborhood or community.’” And “88.8% agree that ‘I would feel a great sense of loss if this activity or venue were no
longer available.’”

There is room for the economic and social impact to grow in the state, they said.

Arts and culture are part the state’s $7.6 billion tourism industry, Speirs said. Travel South Dakota, the state tourism department, is emphasizing arts and culture tourism, which will benefit non-profit arts organization across the state, Speirs said.

Arts organizations have been successful in emphasizing events and activities that are particular to their communities, Speirs said. They may not have venues large enough for a Broadway Show but many have exhibitions or concerts with local, regional, even national talent, he said.

The Rapid City area already draws visitors interested in the arts and culture of Indigenous peoples, Dietrich said.

The Rapid City Arts Council wants to help increase the audience but also the opportunities for Indigenous artists to share their work, Dietrich said. That includes having Indigenous representatives involved in the decisions made about arts and cultural activities.

While local and state governments are supportive, the health of the arts communities also depends on private donors.

Speirs said the economic and social impact study provides evidence that donations support successful activities.

“It’s very important to community leaders as they see the numbers of the power and impact of economic activity,” Speirs said.

Dietrich said donors are also critical in keeping arts and cultural activities accessible and affordable. “Access is important for everyone,” Dietrich said.

Donors recognize the value of contributing to arts and cultural activities in communities including for children, Dietrich said.