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Los Angeles’ Top Cultural Arts Leaders Discuss Economic Impact of the Arts in the Southland

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Press Release: Los Angeles’ Top Cultural Arts Leaders Discuss Economic Impact of the Arts in the Southland – Studies by The Music Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Otis College of Art & Design Suggest Creative Industries are Vital to the Region’s Prosperity 

Contact: Bonnie Goodman For The Music Center Direct: (213) 308-9539 [email protected]

LOS ANGELES (May 21, 2014) – The Music Center recently partnered with Southern California Grantmakers and The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation for a special invitation-only panel discussion to explore recent studies commissioned by local arts organizations, demonstrating the extent to which the arts have an economic impact in Southern California. Moderated by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission’s Executive Director, Laura Zucker, the event featured presentations by Stephen D. Rountree, president & CEO of The Music Center; Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); and Samuel Hoi, president of Otis College of Art & Design. Each presented key findings from their respective studies, which highlight the significance of the arts as drivers of the economic and cultural vitality of the region.

Wendy Garen, chair of Southern California Grantmakers and president & CEO of The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, emphasized the event’s importance and value for the region’s many private funders who support the arts. “Since arts organizations have a vital role in forming and enriching the character and identity of our communities, we wanted to have a better understanding of how our local institutions are contributing both to the vibrancy of cultural life and economic progress in Southern California,” Garen explained.

According to Rountree, The Music Center, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this coming December, commissioned a study by KMPG LLP’s Economic and Valuation Services to quantify the organization’s impact in Los Angeles in 2013. As the second largest performing arts center in the country, just behind Lincoln Center, The Music Center wanted to provide elected officials, policy makers and funders with a better understanding of the overall financial impact of an institution the size of The Music Center. “From its very beginning nearly 50 years ago, The Music Center put its mark on Los Angeles and continues to make a significant impact on our regional economy,” Rountree said. “In fact, we are proud to report that today more than two million people enjoy live performances as well as free community arts events at The Music Center.” 

In fact, the just-released KMPG report shows that The Music Center, its four resident companies, and The Music Center Foundation collectively generated approximately $400 million in annual economic output and nearly 4,000 full-time equivalent jobs for the County of Los Angeles, which translates to $210 million in labor income alone. In addition, economic activities undertaken by this group generated both economic and commercial opportunities for local firms around the County. Every $1,000 of spending on purchases and payroll returned an additional $1,100 in output for the County. Plus, for every 100 employees of the collective payroll of these organizations, there were an additional 60 jobs needed to support the group’s operations. Rountree noted that the study covers all aspects of The Music Center, including the separately run resident companies (Center Theatre Group, LA Phil, LA Opera and the Los Angeles Master Chorale) along with The Music Center itself as a presenter of dance programming and other events. For more details about The Music Center’s economic impact report, visit 

LACMA similarly commissioned the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) to study the economic impact of the museum’s 2007-2013 Transformation project, which doubled LACMA’s campus, exhibition programs and attendance. As Govan explained, the report, released in January 2014, examined the impact of construction of the project’s new galleries, public art installations and other museum facilities. The LAEDC report revealed that Transformation generated economic output in Los Angeles County of more than $477 million, and supported 3,650 jobs with a labor income of $230.2 million. The economic activity is estimated to have generated almost $22 million in state and local taxes and $41.7 million in federal taxes. Further, the annual economic impact from increased attendance and visibility since completion of the project has added $44.1 million, yielding $88.3 million in economic output in Los Angeles County, and 700 additional jobs with an annual labor income of more than $35 million. Visit for more details about the LACMA report.

The discussion about the positive impact of both of these regional arts institutions was held in the context of a presentation by Hoi about the highlights of the 2013 Otis Report on the Creative Economy of California and the Los Angeles Region released in February 2014. Otis College of Art and Design commissioned the LAEDC to measure, benchmark and assess trends of the creative economy, which Otis defines as: 1) Industries traditionally associated with culture and the arts, including fine arts, performing arts and other forms of cultural expression; 2) Organizations that provide venues for artists to share their work with the public, e.g., museums, art galleries, and theatres; 3) Commercial applications of art, design and expression, including the motion picture and television production industries, along with the toy, furniture and apparel manufacturing industries that are based on design; and 4) The support system that nurtures and sustains creative activity, including creative activity; arts programs in K-12 schools, post-secondary arts institutions to develop talent, and philanthropic foundations along with other nonprofit funding organizations to provide financial resources, incentives and services to the creative arts.

According to Hoi, 44% of the creative economy workers in California are in the Los Angeles region. In fact, creative industries in the region are responsible for a net economic contribution of $80 billion to the area’s total gross regional product. There are more than 726,000 direct, indirect and induced wage and salary workers in creative industries in the region, or one in seven jobs. Nearly 14% of all workers in the Los Angeles region have creative industry jobs. As Hoi observed, the report underlined the importance of incorporating initiatives like Los Angeles County’s Arts for All, which supports integrating high-quality arts education into public school curricula to build the pipeline of future employees for the sector. For more information about the Otis report, visit

About Southern California Grantmakers
Southern California Grantmakers (SCG) is the regional association for philanthropists and grantmakers working to make a difference in local communities and around the world. Founded in 1973, the organization’s members include corporate giving programs, family foundations, individual philanthropists, private, independent, operating and community foundations as well as grantmaking 501(c)3s. SCG connects grantmakers across Southern California through sector-wide conferences, trainings, networking opportunities and funder convenings—providing space for collaboration and coordinated action on critical issues. SCG’s membership represents eight counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. For more information, visit and follow SCG on Facebook and Twitter (@socalgrantmaker). 

About The Music Center
The Music Center is one of the largest and most highly regarded performing arts centers in the country, and the place to experience the most innovative and critically-acclaimed performing arts in the nation, creating a cultural hub that is central to L.A.’s status as “the creative capital” of the world. Celebrated for its illustrious dance programming, Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, and home to four world-class resident companies – Center Theatre Group, LA Opera, LA Phil and Los Angeles Master Chorale – The Music Center’s 22-acre campus includes four iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theater, as well as The Music Center Plaza and the newly opened Grand Park. Each year, more than two million people enjoy live performances and free community arts events at The Music Center. In its effort to extend the reach and accessibility of the performing arts, The Music Center is a national model for experiences in which people participate directly through its Active Arts® programming.

In addition, The Music Center presents special productions, events and festivals for children and families, including World City™ which takes place in the Keck Amphitheatre at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Music Center is nationally recognized as a leader in arts education, providing resources for students and teachers in schools and community centers throughout the region. For more information, visit and follow The Music Center on Facebook and Twitter (@MusicCenterLA).

Since its inception in 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography, in addition to representing Los Angeles's uniquely diverse population. Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection that includes over 120,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. Among the museum’s strengths are its holdings of Asian art, Latin American art, ranging from pre-Columbian masterpieces to works by leading modern and contemporary artists; and Islamic art, of which LACMA hosts one of the most significant collections in the world. A museum of international stature as well as a vital part of Southern California, LACMA shares its vast collections through exhibitions, public programs, and research facilities that attract over a million visitors annually, in addition to serving millions through digital initiatives, such as online collections, scholarly catalogues, and interactive engagement at . Situated in Hancock Park on over 20 acres in the heart of Los Angeles, LACMA is located between the ocean and downtown.

About Otis College of Art & Design
Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design is a national leader in art and design education. The College’s mission is to prepare diverse students of art and design to enrich our world through their creativity, skill, and vision. Alumni and faculty are Fulbright, Guggenheim, and MacArthur grant recipients, Oscar awardees, legendary costume designers, leaders of contemporary art movements, and design stars at Abercrombie & Fitch, Apple, Disney, DreamWorks, Mattel, Nike, and Pixar. 

Otis enrolls approximately 1,100 full-time students, and offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media (Game and Entertainment Design, Animation, and Motion Design), Fashion Design, Communication Arts (Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising Design), Fine Arts (Painting, Photography, and Sculpture/New Genres), Product Design, and Toy Design. Otis also awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing. The five-acre main campus is located on L.A.’s Westside near the beach and LAX; Fashion Design is in the heart of the downtown fashion district; and Graduate Studios are on the Creative Corridor in nearby Culver City and in the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica.
2,700 adults and children participate in Continuing Education art and design classes and workshops.


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