How can I document the economic benefits of the arts?

I am working on a proposal for the local community college to gain support to build a professional theatre complex. I need statistical data demonstrating the impact of professional theatre to the economic growth of the city. I know that arts and culture bring in business, but I need evidence beyond my own experiences. Any idea where I can look?

Be sure to do thorough internet research, there is a ton of available data. Large organizations like The National Endowment for the Arts can steer you towards more specific information. For example, Americans for the Arts did an economic prospectus about the impact of the arts in America. One could use this type of data to support claims about how theater or dance programs raise a community's economic standing.