Report: Hyde Collection generated $2.3 million for Warren County economy in one year
Hyde

Report: Hyde Collection generated $2.3 million for Warren County economy in one year

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Geogia O'Keeffe at Hyde Collection

Museum goers take in the "Modern Nature: Georgia O'Keeffe and Lake George" exhibit at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls in this file photo from Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013.  (Derek Pruitt - dpruitt@poststar.com)

GLENS FALLS -- While it’s hard to quantify the value of art, a new report from The Hyde Collection shows that venue helped pump $2.3 million into the Warren County economy over the last year.

The report compiled numbers from Sept. 1, 2012, through Sept. 31, 2013, a period that included a popular Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition from June to September.

“It was just a phenomenal summer for us,” said Alice Grether, The Hyde’s director of marketing communications and visitor services. “This O’Keeffe exhibition literally put us on the map, and it put Glens Falls on the map.”

The museum doesn’t undertake such a time-consuming report every year. This year, Grether said the museum wanted to see how a successful season for the arts could impact the region’s economy.

“We knew we broke our records in terms of attendance, and we knew from a financial perspective what that meant to us,” Grether said. “In doing the numbers for the region, we were obviously pleasantly surprised to see that.”

The O’Keeffe exhibit included 58 paintings by the artist primarily during the time she summered in Lake George, from 1918 to the mid-1930s.

It was paired, in a separate gallery, with photos taken by O’Keeffe’s husband in “A Family Album: Alfred Stieglitz and Lake George.” The show garnered national attention from various media outlets, including The Huffington Post and The New York Times.

Peter Aust, president and chief executive officer of Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber has always known The Hyde had a significant economic impact, “But, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the number is of this magnitude,” Aust said.

He said during the summer the chamber had several walk-ins who said they were visiting The Hyde, and member businesses said they were busier than usual during the O’Keeffe exhibition.

“We’re so excited The Hyde had that kind of attraction to bring people from outside the area to spend money in our county,” Aust said.

During the 12-month period studied in the report, The Hyde attracted more than 44,000 visitors. By comparison, The Hyde had 22,655 visitors in 2012 and 20,353 in 2011.

About 6,000 visitors to the museum during the most recent report period — 13 percent of them — came from Warren County. Another 30 percent, or 12,500, were from the Capital Region or Adirondacks. A total of 14,500, or 32 percent, came from outside the region, state or country.

According to the report, spending by The Hyde day visitors at off-site businesses was estimated at $552,000 during the report period. Nearly 15,000 non-regional visitors are estimated to have spent $435,000 on overnight stays during that time.

The $2.3 million regional impact supported an estimated 64 jobs at various employers, the report states.

In 2000, The Hyde retained RKG Associates to prepare an economic impact report illustrating the museum’s impact on several surrounding counties.

The Hyde’s financial officer, Lynne Mason, prepared this year’s report using the model from the 2000 report.

To calculate the larger economic effect of visitor spending, museum payroll and goods and services purchased by the museum, Mason used economic multipliers provided by the county’s economic development officials.

Economic multipliers are used to calculate the spin-off effect on the economy of, for example, a person’s salary. Spin-off is the estimated effect every dollar in payroll or visitor spending has on the economy and employment.

The payroll at the museum totaled $826,000, including 13 full-time and about 25 part-time positions.

Mason said the museum hired additional people last season to help during the O’Keefe exhibition, including four extra guards and numerous people to help with visitor services.

The payroll’s spin-off spending, based on a multiplier, in the area’s economy was estimated at $264,000.

The museum spent a total of $1.2 million on goods and services, such as stationery, business supplies and custodial services. About 16 percent, or $201,000, was used to purchase goods and services from Warren County businesses.

“Besides contributing to the quality of life of our residents and being a major cultural resource for our region, this study confirms the significant commercial and economic impact we have on the financial health of our entire community,” said The Hyde’s director, Charles Guerin, in a news release.

Kate Austin-Avon, co-director at The Shirt Factory and Healing Center on Cooper Street, two blocks away from The Hyde, said almost all of the building’s vendors saw their sales increase over the summer.

The Shirt Factory and The Hyde naturally tie in together, but now they’re working toward a more structured partnership.

“We don’t have solid numbers to reflect what impact it had on The Shirt Factory specifically, but we do know our foot traffic was up,” said Austin-Avon. “Our tenants’ sales were up significantly. We had three shows going on here that tied into the Georgia O’Keeffe show, so The Hyde sent a lot of people our way. We’re very grateful to them for that.”

She said The Shirt Factory is planning to work with The Hyde for future shows, including a juried black-and-white photography show that will tie in with the “Ansel Adams: Early Works” exhibition from Jan. 25 through April 20.

“We’re also sitting on some committees with them to figure out other ways we can work together: not just with the Hyde, but also with the Chapman and other arts organizations in town,” Austin-Avon said. “It was kind of an initiative that was coming along slowly, but the success of the Georgia O’Keeffe show and the ripple effect that had on us really made us want to step that up.”

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