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$1.76 Billion in Arts and-Cultural Economic Activity in Denver in 2011

According to the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts–the numbers don’t lie: In 2011 Denver metro-area arts and cultural organizations continued to rebound from the economic crisis, posting strong gains over 2009 in key categories such as Economic Impact, Attendance, Jobs and Volunteerism.

For example, Total Economic Activity related to arts and cultural activities – a combination of operating expenses, audience spending and capital investment – was $1.76 billion in 2011. That represents an 18.4% increase over 2009, when many organizations and citizens cut spending in the face of the financial crunch.

Results in the 2012 CBCA Economic Activity Study of Metro Denver are drawn from 2011 fiscal year data reported by more than 300 organizations that receive distributions from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Since 2009, along with that 18.4% increase in total economic activity, Denver has seen…

  • 7% increase in jobs
  • 19% increase in numbers of volunteers
  • 30% increase in attendance
  • 36% increase in economic impact

But a closer inspection of the employment and payroll numbers shows that full-time jobs grew by 3%, while contract jobs advanced by 13%. This follows a National trend illustrated in the Harris Interactive for Randstad Workforce Study that showed 67% of U.S. companies use contract workers and expect to employ more. By 2017, MBO Partners predicts the number of contract workers will jump to 23 million! A 35% increase!

The creative workforce is changing and the jobs are often lower paying freelance or contract projects, which are  good  for creatives who desire more flexibility. However, the study also showed that total payroll had increased 11% from $131 million to $145 million.

The biggest news is that “New Money” – dollars that ordinarily would not be spent in the metro area – reached $527 million in 2011, an 36% increase and by far the largest impact ever recorded in a CBCA study.

All in all, the Denver metro area has not been hit as hard during the recent economic collapse and has bounced back more quickly than other cities.

Has the Arts & Culture Economy benefited from the quick recovery or played a role in it?

Download the complete study here.

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