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Study Cites Columbia Museum of Art Generates More than $23 Million in Economic Activity
Museum 18th Century Gallery.

COLUMBIA, SC.- The Columbia Museum of Art conducted an economic impact study with Miley, Gallo & Associates, one of the Southeast’s leading economic and financial consulting firms. Analysis shows that the Columbia Museum of Art and the spending by museum visitors generated more than $23 million in economic activity in the Columbia Metropolitan area in 2008, up significantly from $9,700,000 in 2005.

The analysis provided by Dr. Harry Miley uses impact models generated by the IMPLAN modeling system. IMPLAN is a nationally recognized system of local economic models that are specifically designed to represent a local economy such as the Columbia metropolitan area.

Museum executive director Karen Brosius said, "This study shows without a doubt that the Columbia Museum of Art is a great investment for the city and county. Additionally, the study goes on to note the educational benefits of the Museum for the citizens of the Midlands."

In addition to the money generated, the Museum stimulates directly and indirectly more than 370 jobs in the Columbia area in a variety of business sectors. The Museum serves an average of 10,700 people per month through its programs, events and outreach activities, and brings a growing and significant number of visitors to downtown and Main Street. Overnight visitors spend $8.2 million in Columbia directly on lodging, retail and restaurant/bar expenditures.

The study shows that the Museum, in addition to its art exhibitions and public programs, serves the Columbia community in a variety of ways:

• The Museum is a major component of the downtown economy because it buys goods and services from many businesses in Columbia. The operating expenditures for fiscal year 2008 were $3,347,960, the majority of which were spent in the local economy.

• The Museum Shop is a downtown retail establishment serving patrons and featuring products not only related to the Museum, but museums from around the world and area artists. Since 2005, Museum shop sales have increased by 30% from $116,115 to $150,844 in 2008.

• The Museum is a major contributor to downtown Columbia tourism. Attendance and outreach is over 128,000 people per year with 54% from areas outside Richland County and 16% outside of South Carolina in 2008. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, cultural tourists spend 1/3 more on their visits than leisure travelers.

• The Museum provides quality arts education, which helps to ensure that Columbia's children receive a comprehensive arts education. Research has proven that children engaged in the arts have better overall academic results.

• The Museum serves as a venue for local events. The Museum can accommodate parties from 10 – 1,200 people. In 2007 and 2008, the Museum hosted 30,000 people at rental events.

• Finally, the Museum is the cultural anchor of the revitalization of downtown Columbia. Since the Museum moved to the corner of Main and Hampton Street in 1998, there has been a strong influx of new businesses that are locating downtown, existing tenants are renewing their leases and a number of new office towers, luxury condos and apartments are being built in the downtown area where hundreds of people now live.

The City of Columbia and Richland County each provide about 19% of the Museum’s annual operating budget through hospitality tax revenues. The study shows that both the City of Columbia and Richland County receive $32 in economic impact for each dollar they invest in the Museum. Over the past four years, the Museum has significantly expanded private support, which provides the remaining 62% of funding through donations from individuals, sponsorships, grants from foundations and earned income areas such as admissions and shop sales.

A survey done by the South Carolina Arts Commission indicated that 99% of CEO’s state that the availability of cultural activities is an important consideration when choosing a new location ( Currently, Columbia is competing with other South Carolina cities to lure the best businesses and the brightest workforce. As the largest art museum in the state, with the most significant international collection and exhibition program, the Columbia Museum of Art is fast becoming the leading art museum in the region and a must-see destination for tourists around the southeast.

Columbia Museum of Art | Columbia | South Carolina | Karen Brosius |

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