A Hidden Billion-Dollar Industry in Northeast Ohio

The Cleveland Institute of Art's Industrial Design program is part of Cuyahoga County's arts industry (PHOTO: C.I.A.)
The Cleveland Institute of Art's Industrial Design program is part of Cuyahoga County's arts industry (PHOTO: C.I.A.)
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The pleasing palette of a painter or the play of light in a professional photograph provide more than aesthetic pleasures, according to the study commissioned by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. The Partnership collaborated with Cleveland State to put some hard numbers on the economic impact of visual arts and design, locally. The Partnership's Thomas Schorgl says previous arts impact studies focused on not-for-profit organizations like museums and galleries. He says, "Forming Cleveland" gives a more complete picture by including businesses like area printing and design companies. All told, the report calculates that Cuyahoga County's Visual Arts, Craft and Design sector produces over a billion-dollars in annual output and $135 - million in taxes. Schorgl says it's a new way of looking at the arts.

THOMAS SCHORGL: I think it shows that the arts sector is a contributor in terms of jobs, is a contributor in terms of bringing money into Cuyahoga County and exporting goods outside of Cuyahoga County. And the sector pays a pretty hefty amount of taxes, both federal, state and local.

Schorgl says "Forming Cleveland" is the second of three reports on the economic impact of the arts in Cuyahoga County. The first, "Re-Mix Cleveland", took a dollar and cents look at the regional music industry in 2011, and there are plans to examine the financial heft of local theater and literature.

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