As this year marks an exciting time for Port Clinton and Ottawa County, so to it is for the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council (GPAAC). With the summer season just around the corner, people will soon be making their way back to our area for the enjoyment brought by Lake Erie, the islands, boating, fishing, camping or otherwise simply the thought of getting away. With all the upcoming events planned around the Battle of Lake Erie bicentennial celebration, we may very well see the greatest influx of tourism in our lifetime.
In its sixth year, the GPCAAC has already made great strides in promoting the arts in our area, and with good reason. According to Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, an organization dedicated to advancing the arts and art education, art carries significant weight when it comes to economic impact. Through a survey conducted last year involving those attending arts-based events in communities across the nation, it was observed that the average person spent $25 beyond admission cost. And where might have that extra $25 been spent? The impact of being drawn to a location by a particular event also resulted in increased patronage at area restaurants, retail stores and hotels. Remember that such spending has occurred in the face of a down economy, which gives suggestion to the value people still place on the arts.
Research within the tourism industry has continually shown that arts and cultural tourists tend to stay longer and spend more than the average traveler. Lynch’s findings also reflected these results by revealing that nearly one-third of event attendees came from outside the county in which an event was held. This would suggest that if people were going to take the time to travel, they were intent on making their visit worthwhile. In fact, they were shown to have spent, on average about $40; over twice the amount as local attendees. This is the kind of activity that GPCAAC works to help generate. The purpose we serve is to encourage and support the arts in the communities of Ottawa County. We believe that a significant portion of our area’s welfare depends on the success of the arts. By fostering a cooperative effort between artists and the public to promote the arts, we are doing our part to help attract positive growth. We believe that art is not frivolous, but very much an essential part of the human creative spirit.
GPAAC, Aaron Gonya, Chair, Jen Nickel, Carol Morgan, Chris Sacksteder, Keith Fleming, Rebecca Booth