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Charleston Business

The Gibbes Museum of Art Generates $120 Million Economic Impact

Dec 05, 2017 12:54PM ● By Emily Stevenson
More than one year after reopening to the public after a two-year, $17 million renovation, the Gibbes Museum of Art announced the results of a study that reveals the museum’s economic impact on the Charleston Tri-county area. Produced by The Citadel School of Business Administration, the study found that the Gibbes generated an impact of $120 million on the Charleston economy.

“It was important for the Gibbes to develop an economic study shortly after its first year of operations after reopening. This study helps us understand where visitors are coming from, what they are expecting to experience and, ultimately, the vital role that the Gibbes plays in the overall health of Charleston’s economy,” said Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art. “We are deeply grateful to the expert team at The Citadel for this valuable information.”

The total impact includes both the economic impact of the Gibbes’ expenditures as defined by its annual budget and the result of the ancillary economic effect of its patrons in the time before and after their visit to the museum. Together, these expenditures lead to additional job creation and economic growth by way of the economic multiplier effect. According to the study, “The Gibbes Museum of Art is a driving force in the Charleston community. Its ability to attract visitors and push the economy in a positive direction is proven with the results of this study.”

The study focused on three areas that most significantly contribute to the Gibbes’ overall impact in the community:

Admission Price

Before closing to the public in 2014 for renovations, the Gibbes welcomed more than 60,000 visitors and 15,000 students. Since reopening in 2016, attendance has increased by 113 percent, with approximately 70 percent of visitors coming from outside the Charleston Tri-county region.

Economic Impact

While portions of the study were used to confirm the appropriateness and competitiveness of current admission and facility rental prices, the bulk of the study aimed to discover the economic impact that the Gibbes has on the Charleston economy. The study considers the museum’s direct, indirect and inducted impact. The study goes on to explain that due to time constraints, the value added to a work of art when it is accepted for display at the Gibbes, due to its prestigious reputation as an American art museum, was not examined and will be addressed in a future study.