Every other year, the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts engages Deloitte & Touche to conduct a survey regarding the economic impact the arts organizations of Denver have on the local economy.
After this year's survey was completed, officials were amazed at the results. On their own, the city's art museum, zoo, butterfly pavilion, Colorado Symphony and many other cultural groups would certainly make their mark on the city's tax rolls and employment.
However, when DT suggested combining all arts groups into one, large group, there were more than 7,000 employees, qualifying the arts of Denver as the area's seventh largest employer.
A look at the numbers backs this up: combined, the arts groups provided more than $15 million in payroll, seat, and sales tax last year, and over the last 10 years, total payroll has grown by 126 percent to $63 million. In addition, operating expenditures had an impact of $844 million on the local economy in 1999.
What can other cities learn from this survey and the arts in Denver? Perhaps cities may be focusing too much attention on sports and not enough on the arts to truly gauge the enormous impact the symphonies, museums and untold numbers of arts groups have on local economies.