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Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Arts Council Santa Cruz County announced that Santa Cruz County’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $68 million in economic activity in 2022, according to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), a national economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts and commissioned by Arts Council.

According to the study, that economic activity—$54,469,219 in expenditures by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and $13,698,812 in event-related spending by their audiences—supported 1,437 jobs and generated $23,419,197 in local, state and federal government revenue.

The Arts Council commissioned two additional studies locally, one for the City of Santa Cruz and one for the City of Watsonville. The total economic impact figures ($38 million in the City of Santa Cruz and less than $9 million in the City of Watsonville) highlight the disparity between North and South County.

“Cultural vitality is the heartbeat of Santa Cruz County, and the Arts and Economic Prosperity Study unequivocally underscores the immeasurable value of arts and culture to our community,” said Arts Council Santa Cruz County Executive Director Jim Brown. “This research illuminates the economic contributions and the profound social enrichment that the arts bring to our region.

The research also highlights the disparity between the City of Santa Cruz and the City of Watsonville. The data speaks loudly—Santa Cruz generates an economic impact of close to four times that of Watsonville, per capita. This difference underscores the need to bridge the gap in events, venues and artist opportunities between our north and south county, ensuring that the benefits of arts and culture are accessible and equitable for all.”

“The arts play a pivotal role in shaping our local economy and are the heart and soul of our

community’s identity. This study underscores the remarkable strides made by the Watsonville Movement for the Arts, while also illuminating the pressing necessity and potential for increased investment and broader accessibility to the arts within Watsonville,” said Noe Ibarra, chair of the City of Watsonville Parks and Recreation Commission.

The view the study, visit

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