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Orange County arts suffer box-office decline, study finds

November 25, 2010 |  3:29 pm

Pacific Symphony

Orange County arts aficionados enjoyed lower ticket prices in 2008-09, but the increased attendance wasn't enough to prevent a drop in box office revenue, a Chapman University study released Monday shows.

For 24 nonprofit arts organizations surveyed both in 2005 and 2009, the average price dropped 15.5%, from $29.10 to $24.60, the study found. Paid admissions grew 11.6%, reaching 1.9 million. But the combined box office returns of the 24 arts groups were down almost 6% from mid-decade, from $49.7 million to $46.8 million.

Nevertheless, jobs in the nonprofit arts sector held up better from 2005 to 2009 than in the overall local economy, Chapman economists determined. While employment in the county fell 7.4% over that span, the number of paid positions in the arts increased 2.1%, growing to 3,618. Of those, 643 positions were full time, a gain of 4.8%. If the local arts sector were a single employer, the study notes, it would be the 23rd largest private concern in Orange County, where Disney is king with 19,800 workers.

Read the full story here.

--Mike Boehm

Photo: Orange County arts' ticket prices fell in 2008-09, attendance increased, but box office revenue dropped. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times