What does this measure?
Total number of attendees at arts and cultural attractions in the region each year as reported by Rochester Business Journal.
Why is this important?
Arts and cultural attractions bring visitors and money into the area. Cultural events also help retain local money and interest while contributing to regional prestige and quality of life.
How is our region performing?
Over 2.9 million individuals attended arts and cultural attractions in the region in 2019, down from over 4.6 million in 2018. This was the first time in a decade that attendance has dipped below 3.6 million. Compared to 2002, attendance was down 29% in 2019. Attendance at musical attractions declined, while attendance at festivals increased 55% since 2002. (It should be noted that attendance is, of course, influenced by the scale, quantity and frequency with which attractions and events are offered.)
Museums and zoos, and dance/theatre had the highest a decline in annual attendance for the period (58% and 76%, respectively), with a 2019 total attendance of over 946,000. The Seneca Park Zoo and the Strong Museum was the region's best attended cultural attraction, with more than 190,000 visitors in 2019. The Lilac Festival was the best attended festival in 2019, attracting half a million visitors.
Notes about the data
Data is self-reported by arts organizations, and some large reported changes probably reflect differences in how attendance was counted from year to year, rather than true fluctuations in attendance. RBJ didn't collect or publish cultural attendance data for calendar year 2017 and 2019 data is based on 2019-20 Covid impact. Data for this indicator are expected to be released in the third quarter.
Notes: Cultural attendance data for calendar year 2017 only includes festivals.
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