BEMIDJI -- Annual events like Art in the Park bring hundreds of people to Bemidji. So do concerts, plays and other arts and cultural activities. A research report to be presented Monday, March 8 will reveal their impact on the city’s economy.
The study was conducted in 2019 by Creative Minnesota, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and the city of Bemidji. The virtual presentation can be viewed as part of the Bemidji City Council’s work session starting at 6 p.m. Monday. A link to the meeting is available on the city’s website.
Brenda Kayzar, a research associate with Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, said her organization has been conducting similar studies around the state since 2015. The studies look at budgets for organizations and events, and also the spending of those who attend the events.
“So if you’ve got a Main Street theater and they’re putting on performances, people are coming into town, they’re going to the theater, they usually go to some kind of restaurant or to a bar, do a little bit of shopping,” Kayzar said. “So the arts and cultural event is actually generating revenue for other businesses, and that then generates taxes for the local and state government and it also generates job growth. These studies look at that impact from the audiences, but they also look at the impact from the nonprofit organizations as well, because they’re like little businesses. They hire people, they pay rent, they buy supplies.”
The Bemidji study included 28 events and organizations, ranging from the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra and Paul Bunyan Playhouse to Gallery North and the Watermark Art Center.
“One of the things that is most impressive about Bemidji is that of the 28 arts and culture organizations or activities that we looked at, 13 have budgets under $25,000 per year, some as little as $5,000,” Kayzar said. “The economic impact per capita in the city of Bemidji is $544 a year. That’s impressive when you think about a smaller population. I would say that’s well above average for a city the size of Bemidji.”
Creative Minnesota was developed by a collaborative of arts and culture funders in partnership with Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. The statewide and regional reports, as well as additional research about Minnesota’s arts and cultural community, can be downloaded for free at creativemn.org.