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Stories of Impact: Waterfall Arts

by Katie Manter

This case study is part of MANP’s Stories of Impact series highlighting the many ways Maine’s nonprofits are essential to a strong and healthy Maine. Read MANP’s full Adding Impact Report. 

Arts and cultural organizations have long been cornerstones of Maine’s prosperity and quality of life, creating jobs, generating commerce, and driving tourism. According to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, a 2015 national economic impact study, nonprofit arts groups in Maine generate over $150 million in annual economic activity, supporting 4,190 full-time equivalent jobs, and generating over $12 million in local and state government revenues.

Belfast’s Waterfall Arts is a key driver of the creative economy in Waldo County. The center supports several arts studios, a performance space, a recording studio, and manages programs ranging from free after-school arts clubs to interactive community events. The organization is increasingly involved in creating opportunities for youth and families to access the arts—an investment that has proven beneficial in communities across Maine, including improvements to downtown vitality, education, and health and wellness.

Annual Economic Impact:

  • Employs 7 staff and 24 teaching artists.
  • Provides exhibiting opportunities for over 300 artists.
  • Welcomes over 7,700 visitors.
  • Supports free after-school art club for 53 youth with 65 participating in the in the summer.
  • One of 20 arts groups directly contributing $2.7 million annually to Greater Belfast area.
  • In Greater Belfast, average arts attendees spend $26.28 per event in addition to admission costs.

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