Repost – What Arts Funding Does For a City

This is a re-post from July 17.

Given the article about arts funding being at risk, I thought it was appropriate. If you think that large organizations having millions of dollars potentially cut from their funding doesn’t affect you – it will.  Since numbers seem to be the important thing, here we go.

I was thinking yesterday about the money spent on something like the Fringe, what’s called ancillary expenses – money spent outside of the actual ticket. That’s the money that supports the economy, the bigger picture that some folks can’t seem to grasp.  So i thought I’d do a little breakdown over the course of a week’s worth of Fringing. I’ll leave out ticket price.

For every day I Fringed I spent the following:

$2 – $5 Tipping the Fringe
$5 on freezies for an overheated tired staff
$5.50 per beer at the tent – figure two for me and one for someone who needed one, so $16.50 plus tip so let’s say an even $20.00
$10 on dinner either from Southern Accent or Butler’s Pantry on site
$12.50 on a taxi home.

That’s $52.50 an outing, with an outing lasting maybe four hours. Not including a $10 ticket. So over three days (I was there more but three is a round number) that’s $157.50 spent not on art, but other things I did and ate and drank because I was seeing art. Money spent on local businesses and a neighbourhood.

So let’s say last Friday the folks out for the evening spent that amount each. So multiply $52.50 by these people:


and i think you’d have to agree that art just might be an important thing to have in a city not just for the culture part, but as a building block of the local economy.  Photo above by Corbin Smith of torontoist.

Ten day festival, folks. In case you’re willing to dismiss the photo above as, “well of course! It’s Friday night!” – here’s a shot of last Monday, taken by Gideon Arthurs. I know – nobody goes out on a Monday

2 Comments to “Repost – What Arts Funding Does For a City”

  1. Another art major with no economics training. What would you have done with that money if not at fringe? Stuck it under a matrress? Burned it? Or used it for something else? There might be reasons to spend public money on he arts, but you haven’t identified any here.

    • Thanks for your post Lee. Quite honestly – I possibly wouldn`t have spent it – not that much, not that neighbourhood, not those businesses.
      My point being, this particular neighbourhood benefited from a specific arts festival being there – and that money would not have been spent there.

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