Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry in the City of Grand Junction

The Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture has released their economic impact study of arts and culture in the City of Grand Junction, referred to as the Arts and Economic Prosperity 5. The Art Commission partnered with Americans for the Arts to document the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in 341 communities and regions (113 cities, 115 counties, 81 multi-city or multi-county regions, 20 states, and 12 individual arts districts)—representing all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 provides evidence that the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a significant industry in the City of Grand Junction—one that generates $17.3 million in total economic activity. This spending—$11.3 million by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and an additional $6 million in event-related spending by their audiences—supports 512 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $12.9 million in household income to local residents, and delivers $1.4 million in local and state government revenue. This economic impact study sends a strong signal that when we support the arts, we not only enhance our quality of life, but we also invest in the City of Grand Junction’s economic well-being.

To complete this study, The Art Commission gathered 1551 audience-intercept surveys from arts and cultural audience members attending a performance, event or exhibit within the City of Grand Junction during calendar year 2016. Nonresident attendees spent an average of 294 percent more per person than local attendees ($72.12 vs. $18.29) as a result of their attendance to cultural events. As would be expected from a traveler, higher spending was typically found in the categories of lodging, meals, and transportation. When a community attracts cultural tourists, it harnesses significant economic rewards.

Each of the nonresident survey respondents (i.e., those who live outside Mesa County) were asked about the purpose of their trip: 54.7 percent indicated that the primary purpose of their visit to the City of Grand Junction was “specifically to attend this arts/cultural event.” This finding demonstrates the power of the arts to attract visitors to the community.

Also contributing were 32 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in the City of Grand Junction, that provided detailed financial and event attendance information about their organization.

During 2015, a total of 1,980 volunteers donated a total of 99,417 hours to the City of Grand Junction’s participating nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. This represents a donation of time with an estimated aggregate value of $2,342,265.

Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations are businesses in their own right. They spent $11.3 million during fiscal year 2015 to employ people locally, purchase goods and services from local establishments, and attract tourists. They also leveraged a remarkable $6 million in additional spending by cultural audiences—spending that pumps vital revenue into restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages, and other local businesses.

This study puts to rest a misconception that communities support arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. In fact, communities that support the arts and culture are investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism. This Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study shows conclusively that the arts mean business in the City of Grand Junction!

To access the complete report, go to

For more information regarding the Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 please contact:
Lorie Gregor, Recreation Coordinator

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