on November 15, 2014 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Arts lead the way

Arts lead the way

Arts and cultural organizations do more than teach people about the world around them –; they grow the economies of local communities

That’s according to a recently released two-year study of 300 arts organizations in a seven-county metro area.

The Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) released its biennial Economic Activity Study of Metro Denver Culture on Nov. 7, which demonstrates the enormous financial and social impact exhibited by organizations funded by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

The seven counties that receive those funds are Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson.

“The numbers are great and confirms what we ‘culturals’ have always known about the impacts the arts have,” said Cheryl McNab, director of Littleton’s Town Hall Arts Center. “The SCFD is a great bang for a taxpayer’s buck and produces some amazing things.”

The SCFD distributes funds from a one-tenth of 1 percent sales and use tax to cultural facilities throughout the Denver metro area. The funds support cultural organizations whose purpose is to advance and preserve art, culture and science.

The study –; conducted since 1992 –; gives results taken from the 2013 calendar year and represents data gathered from about 300 organizations in the seven counties.

The numbers paint a vivid picture of just how much arts contribute to the economy.

According to the study, the combination of operating expenses, audience spending and capital expenditures totaled $ 1.85 billion in 2013 up 5.1 percent from 2011, and new money injected to the economy came to $ 520.8 million. That number is down only down 1.2 percent from 2011, when the state was still deep in the throes of an economic downturn.

“The study results allow us to talk about what we can do as organizations in economic terms,” said Philip Sneed, executive director of the Arvada Center. “It’s easy for some people to think of the arts as a luxury item, but we’re job creators who provide real jobs for real people.”

The jobs and payroll numbers showed significant increases with cultural and scientific organizations employing 10,205 people, up 9.1 percent from 2011. The organizations earned $ 150.7 million in payroll and expenses in 2013, a 4 percent increase.

One of the most startling numbers is the number of volunteers who helped out organizations throughout the metro area: 44,438 volunteers contributed 1.77 million hours. That is the equivalent of 851 full-time employees and more than $ 44 million in donated time.

“We have around 300 volunteers at the Arvada Center and they do all kinds of things –; the biggest is ushering at our performances, but they also do tours and help with school groups,” Sneed said. “We count on them for everything we do.”

Colorado saw the number of out-of-state tourists participating in local arts and culture events increase by 17 percent from 2011 an increase doesn’t only benefit arts organizations.

“We have many people who go to restaurants and other businesses while they’re out for us,” said Susan Martin, Lakewood Cultural Center administrator. “And out of town performers stay in local hotels.”

McNab, in Littleton, noted downtown Littleton businesses near the Town Hall Arts Center are major benefactors of having a cultural center close by.

Looking to the future, the CBCA study projects arts benefits for the economy will only grow –; by 2028 the organization projects $ 3.82 billion in economic activity and $ 989 million in economic impact. They also project 16,582 jobs by the same year.

These numbers give new and rising arts groups a goal to aim for as they continue to grow in their communities.

Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District “will qualify for the SCFD next year, and I think the study shows what the arts can do,” said Bill Marino, 40 West chair. “The whole state is seeing the effects of the arts –; they elevate the quality of life while improving the economy.”

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