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Degas and the Dance is an Artistic and Economic Success

Monday, April 07, 2003

April 7, 2003 (Detroit)—Metro Detroit businesses served up lunches, booked hotel rooms and realized the economic impact of nearly $15 million due to the Detroit Institute of Arts’ (DIA) presentation of Degas and the Dance. These are results of a study conducted by MORPACE International, underwritten by the DIA and the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. The exhibition, sponsored by the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund, offered more than 100 masterworks from one of the leading Impressionists, Edgar Degas, placed side by side with stage sets, costume designs and photographs of dancers he knew and painted. Degas and the Dance is the second largest-attended exhibition in the museum’s history based on its length of stay in Detroit. 171,963 tickets were sold during the 12-week run, second only to the museum’s record-breaking Van Gogh: Face to Face in 2000, which attracted 315,000 visitors. Splendors of Ancient Egypt drew 290,000 over a six-month run.

“This illustrates, that in addition to our goals of furthering scholarship and bringing extraordinary art to our community, cultural institutions like the DIA significantly add to the financial health of this region as a whole,” said DIA director Graham W.J. Beal. “Whether or not you take advantage of the rich cultural offerings in this area, studies like this prove that everyone benefits from them.”

The $15 million figure represents local direct spending of $3,632,134. Direct spending and local income generated by out-of-town visitors is multiplied by 1.5 to reach an economic impact of $11,365,000. The multiplier is not applied to local spending as it is believed that local spending does not generate the same kind of “trickle down” effect as tourist dollars. Combined, local and out-of-town spending created the $15 million economic impact.

Based on exit interviews with 609 visitors, the MORPACE study found that 63% of the visitors were local—defined as residing in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties—and 37% were out-of-town visitors. DIA records also indicate extensive visitorship from the State of Michigan, including guests from 70 of its 83 counties. Additionally, guests traveled from 46 states, plus the District of Columbia. Five percent of out-of-town visitors indicated that this was their first visit to Detroit.

“Visitors are staying an average of 3.6 days with 75% very satisfied with their visit,” said Larry Alexander, CEO, Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The study indicates that even though travel has been down nationwide, people will travel for the right product and once they get to Detroit they like what they see.”

In addition, 62% of out-of-town visitors and 75% of local visitors believe that Metro Detroit is becoming a more desirable tourist destination. Eighty-seven percent of out-of-town and 91% of local visitors came to Detroit primarily to see the exhibition, with 50% making plans more than one month prior to their visit, suggesting it was a considered trip more than a spur-of-the-moment choice.

According to the study, the typical local resident spent $32.72, including exhibition tickets, dining and other expenses. Out-of-town visitors spent approximately $54.08. A number of other activities were mentioned by out-of-town visitors including visiting other museums or cultural events (9%); shopping (10%); going to a sporting event (4%); visiting family and friends (4%); and dining out (46%).

The final financial impact of Degas and the Dance will not be known until the show closes in Philadelphia on May 11 and the final shared costs are calculated. However, the DIA has recorded ticket sales generating approximately $1.3 million. The Museum Shops brought in sales revenues netting almost $1.2 million. Museum restaurants and food service for special events also enjoyed an increase in business, generating an additional $428,000 in revenue. In addition, DIA membership enjoyed significant gains with 7,886 new members, resulting in revenues just over $750,000. This is a total membership increase of 22%, which also assists in generating future visitation and revenues for the museum.

“It should be remembered that cultural institutions can’t produce programs of this caliber without the generous support of companies like DaimlerChrysler,” said Beal. “We are grateful to DaimlerChrysler for seeing the possibilities in this extraordinary exhibition and for supporting the museum and the City of Detroit.”

Degas and the Dance was organized by the American Federation of Arts, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Detroit showing of the exhibition was made possible by a generous contribution from the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Additional support was provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit. Promotional support provided by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 and NewsTalk 760 WJR.