San Diego Business Journal

San Diego’s Hidden Economic Engine

Arts & Entertainment Supplement Monday, February 11, 2013
A scene from “Cruzar la Cara de la Luna” 
(To Cross the Face of the Moon).  Performances at the San Diego Opera March 16 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

A scene from “Cruzar la Cara de la Luna” (To Cross the Face of the Moon). Performances at the San Diego Opera March 16 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Showcasing San Diego to an international market, the San Diego Symphony is literally taking its show on the road and marking its 102-year anniversary with a tour to China, the first time the orchestra has toured outside North America. The China concerts immediately follow the orchestra’s first performance in New York’s famed Carnegie Hall. Rivaling the symphony’s success is the San Diego Opera, a widely respected member of the international opera community. Their North American Voices Project, instituted in 1993, has become a model for opera companies throughout the United States, adding contemporary American operas to complement the traditional repertoire each season. Another San Diego mainstay, Mainly Mozart, in its 25th season, produces the largest Spring music festival in the region, the Mainly Mozart Festival, as well as a winter season, both hosting sell-out shows using a myriad of San Diego’s eclectic venues from the restored downtown Balboa Theatre to The Scripps Research Institute to The Crosby Estates in Rancho Santa Fe.

Smithsonian of the West

Balboa Park boasts the largest collection of museums in one geographic location outside the Smithsonian complex in Washington D.C. Currently, the park hosts about 10 million visitors a year, 60 percent of whom visit the San Diego Zoo and 40 percent the balance of the park. From the Museum of Art with its vast permanent collection to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, home of the world’s first IMAX Dome theater, the park’s institutions are a major stream of revenue from day visitors, members and docents, to thousands of school children in customized educational outreach programs. With the park’s Centennial rapidly approaching in 2015, committees are scrambling to put a comprehensive plan in place to showcase the entire city and generate a record amount of spending from locals and visitors alike.

Seafaring Tradition Translates to Global Exposure

San Diego’s cultural traditions take root in its military and seafaring orientation which translates into global exposure for the city as well as revenue. Berthed in San Diego Bay are a collection of ships that draw international interest.

The USS Midway Museum, with more than one million visitors, has had a unique impact, becoming a platform on which San Diego has been showcased repeatedly to national and international audiences. From American Idol, PBS, History Channel, Travel Channel, National Geographic, NCAA basketball, to last week’s Tim McGraw album debut streaming on Yahoo, plus multiple European and Japanese television shows – all have filmed and broadcast from Midway. It’s estimated that more than 350 million broadcast households have been exposed to San Diego by the aircraft carrier museum. Anchoring the Midway is the Maritime Museum complex that maintains a fleet of one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship the Star of India. In the selected years the Star of India sails, worldwide attention focuses on San Diego.

*National economic impact sturdy, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV. The most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV was conducted by Americans for Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education.

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