UoS Econ Impact Report CoverOn Monday 16 May 2016, the results of the Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village Economic Impact Study were launched. Speakers included Sir David Verey, Professor Graham Miller and Professor Gang Li of the University of Surrey, Perdita Hunt, Director of Watts Gallery Trust, and Dr Helen Bowcock of The Hazelhurst Trust.

Research from this study has revealed that the economic impact of Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village significantly boosts the local economy in and around Guildford. This impact extends to the wider economy as well, with the Artists’ Village contributing over £7.76 million in terms of additional gross turnover for the UK and supporting 124 additional jobs.

The study was conducted over a 10-month period from March to December 2015, with data for the study coming from a post-visit survey, the Artists’ Village’s management data and desk research for UK economic data. Through looking at visitor spending, the Gallery’s operating expenditure and its knock-on effect on the wider economy, it was revealed that the Artists’ Village directly contributed £2.62 million worth of additional gross turnover to other local businesses.

In times of economic austerity, it is often arts and cultural institutions that suffer from reduced investment. However, what is clear from our study is that investment in the arts has value beyond the aesthetic, directly contributing to local and national wealth. We shouldn’t undervalue the work that local attractions play in increasing regional prosperity. Whether bringing in visitors who spend money in the surrounding area, directly creating jobs and supporting local suppliers, Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village has an impact far beyond its doors.” Professor Li, University of Surrey