Lehigh Valley’s nonprofit arts community pumps $200 million annually into the region’s economy
The two tickets to a live opera rebroadcast at Allentown Symphony Hall were just the first things Jane Wells Schooley spent money on Thursday evening. Before the show, she and her granddaughter had dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant. They planned to get dessert at Rita’s Italian ice afterward.
Still, Schooley, of Lower Nazareth Township, considered the outing an excellent value.
“To be able to expose a young person to opera without spending $200!” she whispered as the curtains parted to a full-screen, high-definition view of the pit orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. “We are extremely fortunate to have the arts that we have in the Lehigh Valley.”
Fortunate indeed — and in more than one sense. The Valley’s many nonprofit arts and cultural organizations do more than provide diverse entertainment and intellectual stimulation. They also boost the local economy as patrons like Schooley, eager to take advantage of the region’s relatively inexpensive offerings, open their wallets before, during and after the main event.