I just sat down at my desk after listing to a wonderful presentation on the newly released study on the Economic Impact of the Professional Craft Industry in Western North Carolina. It is incredible to hear leaders such as North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda A. Carlisle, University of North Carolina – Asheville, Brent Skidmore, HandMade in America Geraldine Plato, The Center for Craft Creativity and Design, Dian Magie, Haywood Community College Meg White, Penland School of Crafts Jean McLaughlin, speak about the strong role the arts play in our economy. The art and craft economics have made a clear revival on the past few decades and it is time that we take hold of that presence. Jobs are becoming more and more scarce and it is imperative that the government leaders, community leaders and artists acknowledge the impacts of the art economy. This study shows in clear detail how WNC crafts people are contributing to the economy.
Here are a few detail from the report: Estimated Total Direct Economic Impact of the Craft Industry in WNC. The total direct economic impact of the WNC craft industry is the sum of: $31,478,262 the craft consumer tourism direct economic impact $86,218,808 the craft artisan direct economic impact $57,651,405 the craft gallery and shop direct economic impact $11,779,124 the craft educator direct economic impact $ 4,406,000 the craft organization direct economic impact $15,000,000 the craft supplier and publisher direct economic impact Therefore, $206,533,599 is estimated to be the total estimated direct economic impact for the craft industry in Western North Carolina. 28% of WNC Craft artists subcontract their work 79% of WNC Craft artists work from a home studio 21% of WNC Craft artists are over 65 years of age 70% of WNC Craft Artists are between 36 and 65 years of age 33% have lived in WNC over 30 years 8% of WNC Craft Artists are under the age of 30 16% of WNC Craft Artists have arrived in the last five years Those numbers really show the importance that artists have in our economy and the study only show cases the WNC, it makes very proud to be able to say that ABI reaches over 1,000 artists per year providing them with the business education that they need to be able to produce their craft and have a sustainable living.