Fiscal and Economic Research Center to show benefits of Young Auditorium

WHITEWATER ­ The Young Auditorium has proven to be a benefit to its patrons
and to the economy. People from Milwaukee to Madison come to Whitewater to
enjoy the first-class performances, convenient location and reasonable
ticket prices. What these attendees may not know is that they¹re helping
improve the economy of Walworth County and the city of Whitewater.

Russ Kashian, economist for the Fiscal and Economic Research Center (FERC)
and associate professor of economics, and Ben Strand, advancement officer
for the Young Auditorium, are working together to conduct an economic impact
study of the Young Auditorium. The UW Extension provided a grant for this
study and will help FERC analyze the incoming data.

³The Young Auditorium provides more than just entertainment; it helps the
Whitewater economy,² Strand said. ³This study will remind the community of
the value of the university.²

Surveys were mailed the first week of October to 1,500 randomly selected
Young Auditorium performance non-student attendees during the last two
years. The surveys are designed to find out how much money Young Auditorium
attendees spend during their time in Whitewater for the performance, thus
revealing the financial contribution the Young Auditorium puts back into the
economy. The results will be announced Jan. 25, 2008, before the St.
Petersburg Ballet¹s performance of ³Carmen² in the Young Auditorium.

³We would like to use this as a pilot study for the rest of the state and
would like to be able to expand this study for the future,² Kashian said.

Partners in the study include the Whitewater Arts Council, Walworth County
Arts Council, Janesville Presenting Arts, United Arts Alliance, Whitewater
Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson County Tourism, Fort Atkinson Chamber of
Commerce, Elkhorn Chamber of Commerce, Beloit Chamber of Commerce, Forward
Janesville and Walworth County Visitors Bureau.