Sea-to-Sky Corridor Evaluates Arts and Culture Sector

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The Whistler Arts Council together with the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Squamish Lillooet Regional District conducted a Regional Economic Impact Study of Arts, Culture and Heritage in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor. The study, funded by $20,000 from Creative Communities, identified economic benefits of arts, culture and heritage activities from Lions Bay to Mount Currie, and recommended strategies to enhance these benefits. More than 300 artists, arts organizations and local stakeholders were surveyed.

Results showed the cultural sector generates $16.5 million in annual revenue, employs 650 people, involves close to 1,000 volunteers, and produces a gross economic output of about $26 million annually. The study accessed information via surveys, interviews, analysis, workshops and input from a regional steering committee. Although arts, culture and heritage have been recognized as a potential benefit to the economy, no comprehensive study had ever been done to assess the sector’s economic impact. The data revealed the area’s vibrant cultural sector and its solid foundation upon which to build. Results also provided an incentive for a regional cultural tourism strategy. The Regional Steering Committee has remained in place to build on the study’s recommendations.

Creative Communities assists local governments to take stock of their cultural assets and identify strengths and challenges in their local arts and cultural sector. The program also guides governments through community consultations to determine how and where to expand local arts and cultural programs and projects. The program is supported by the Province of British Columbia.