The economic impact of the City of Melbourne's investment in the arts

Analysis of artists, audiences and the general public survey responses

15 May 2017

The purpose of this report is to provide an assessment of the economic impact of the City of Melbourne’s investment in the arts through its Arts Melbourne branch.

An unique approach to this research was undertaken with three different stakeholder groups being surveyed to understand the economic impact. They were:

  • Artists who were recipients of City of Melbourne support (funding and/or in-kind).
  • Audience members attending City of Melbourne funded arts events and performances, including participants at workshops such as those offered as part of ArtPlay.
  • Members of the general public who had not directly engaged in a City of Melbourne art event over the last twelve months.

Insights gleaned from these stakeholder groups enabled a better understanding of the factors driving supply (artists making art) and demand (audiences consuming art) in Melbourne. The research highlights the impact of the City of Melbourne’s supporting role in the arts, which contributes broadly to Melbourne’s reputation as a creative city. It also finds that funding of the arts by the City is supported by the public at large.

An important feature of the survey design was the use of a methodology known as contingent valuation (CV). This method allowed the study of non-market economic impact placed on the arts in Melbourne by audiences, as well as the non-use economic impact associated with the arts more generally amongst Melbourne’s public (including those who do not attend City of Melbourne supported arts activities).

From July to November 2016, RMIT researchers interviewed more than 1000 people, including artists, audience members who attended City of Melbourne run arts events, and members of the public to determine the value of our investment in the arts.

A few key findings include:

  • Artists who were initially supported by City of Melbourne either secured paid work (65 per cent) or further funding opportunities (45 per cent).
  • Seventy per cent of audience respondents said their main reason to visit Melbourne that day was to attend the arts event.
  • Even when researchers sought out people who had not been to an arts event in a year, Melburnians still believed the arts were essential and wanted them preserved.
  • Ninety per cent of audience respondents agreed the arts should be preserved for future generations.
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