Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Colorado Council on the Arts
I attended an information session recently sponsored by the Colorado Council on the Arts. They were mostly speaking about the State's limited resources for the next year and how all Arts Grants from their organization are on hold until they know their final budget. At the session, the director, Elaine Mariner, talked about a study the CCA had commissioned to find out how the Arts affect the state of Colorado economically. This study has some pretty staggering numbers, it shows that 186,251 jobs in the state are associated with creative enterprises and creative occupations. Colorado’s creative enterprises alone employed over 122,000 individuals in about 8,000 establishments. This accounts for 3.9% of the state’s estimated 3.2 million jobs, making it Colorado’s 5th largest employment sector, almost as large as biotechnology/biomedical and IT & telecommunications, and larger than defense & security and agribusiness, food processing & technology. Employee earnings in these jobs, including employee benefits, were about $5 billion. Another 64,000 individuals worked in creative occupations in non-creative enterprises.
The study finds that the resource of creative capital is an untapped resource for many Colorado communities. For creative people, this study is a little bit like, duh, yea, of course creative people generate economic growth. But, for those in the midst of the states (and every states) budgetary concerns, a study like this gives concrete proof that Artists are an untapped resource in many communities. It also expands the definition of an Artist to folks who might not consider what they do an Art, like a mason or a carpenter.
Let's hope Colorado decides to fully fund the Arts Council and their grant programs. I am certainly looking forward to finding out more about the Creative Community in my new home state