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New America: Sizing Up Impact: Measuring the Economic Growth Generated by a Catalytic Investment

A February 2022 article by Meegan Dugan Adell, and Kaity Hsieh, from New America's series Chi Public Tech: Using Data for Community Good gives a fantastic run-down on the importance of Kehrein Center for the Arts to the Austin community.

The article explains the Kehrein Center's economic impact:

"Analysis by a team of Mastercard data scientists found that the Kehrein Center for the Arts has not only brought music, community, and life to the neighborhood of Austin—but it also drove significant economic growth. Mastercard generated spending insights that were based on anonymized and aggregated transaction data, and derived via robust analytic techniques. The analysis showed that the center triggered an economic revitalization, just as its developers had hoped. Indeed, this single investment had a domino effect across the entire commercial corridor where it is located(3). The data showed:

  • Increase in consumer spending. After the Kehrein Center for the Arts opened, there was a 12 percent increase in spending across Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. In the specific census tract where the arts center is located, there was an even more pronounced impact of a 20 percent lift in spending.

  • Growth in out-of-town visitors. Not only was more revenue coming in, but the profile of Austin visitors changed too. We saw a 24 percent increase in spending from travelers coming from further away (10 to 50 miles away from the center), indicating the neighborhood is increasingly seen as destination for visitors from the surrounding area and suburbs.

  • New business openings. In addition, there was a 2.6 percent growth in new business openings in the area after the arts center opened."


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