Pacific Standard Time generated more than $280 million in economic activity, according to LAEDC study

Van Dyke Parks, Inara George and orchestra performed at the Getty Museum during Pacific Standard Time's 6-month run last year. A newly released report assesses the economic impact of the modern art survey that involved more than 60 Southland museums and galleries.
Van Dyke Parks, Inara George and orchestra performed at the Getty Museum during Pacific Standard Time's 6-month run last year. A newly released report assesses the economic impact of the modern art survey that involved more than 60 Southland museums and galleries. Steve Hochman

Pacific Standard Time, last year’s ambitious postwar art exhibition that spanned more than 60 museums and galleries, generated more than $280 million in economic output, according to a study released Thursday.

The event supported nearly 2,500 jobs and drew about 2 million visitors, according to a study by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

“This is especially welcoming in a time when we’re still facing stubbornly high unemployment and where we are here this morning with almost 500,000 people in L.A. County today still without a job,” said Christine Cooper, a LAEDC economist.

The event’s economic output—measured by business receipts of goods and services produced—was about five times the amount generated by the Andy Worhol exhibit at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2002.

Pacific Standard Time was an effort led by the Getty. Organizers said the data backed what they knew all along—that art can help the economy.

“It showed us what we anticipated,” said Jim Cuno, CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “When you do good work in the cultural arena, there is going to be an economic benefit to that.”

Gloria Gerace, a managing director of Pacific Standard Time, said attendance doubled at the Santa Monica Museum of Art because of the exhibition.

“It was unprecedented,” Gerace said. “I think the museum saw more visitors banging on that door than they had seen for a very long time.”

About 44 percent of the people who attended Pacific Standard Time said they went to the museums and galleries primarily to see the event. That means that the other 56 percent who contributed to the event’s economic success, may have spent money at local museums anyway.

But Cooper said the data still shows that Pacific Standard Time generated economic activity in the region.

“This does not take away from the impact of the PST initiative,” she said.

There will be another Pacific Standard Time event this spring on modern Los Angeles architecture. It will be much smaller, taking place at only nine venues.

Cuno said the Getty would like to have another large-scale Pacific Standard Time event in the future, but it could take five to six years of planning.

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