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spur local economies


rt is what binds us together and bears witness to our shared experience as humans. Art stimulates creativity and develops vibrant communities. It does so mainly through our hearts, by tapping into that connective thread between us all, but art also serves as a community builder through our economy – much of it on a local level. A study by the nonprofit organization Americans for the Arts found that nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year. Of that, $63.1 billion is spent by organizations with an additional $103.1 billion spent by their audiences in event-related costs. That $166 billion translates to 5.7 million fulltime equivalent jobs for Americans, and $7.9 billion in local government revenue, collectively. The precise impact can be difficult for smaller communities to quantify, but is easily shown to be effective by the number of towns that offer regular arts-based events. By weaving gallery walks into a “night on the town” experience, groups of business owners and artists work to-


gether to provide satisfying cultural experiences that generate income for entire districts. What is an art walk? Gallery or art walks are collaborations between galleries, museums and sometimes business associations where visitors use a map to drop in on suggested art installations. Along the way, some districts add to the experience with live music and other performance arts. Invariably art-goers will stop for refreshments and shopping along the way. Fort Collins The Fort Collins Gallery Walk began 14 years ago when Marcy Oliver at Old Town Art & Framery wanted to grow public awareness of the many galleries in the area. Building on a model she had seen in Laramie, Wyo., the walks were intended to make art lovers aware of the rich local art scene that existed. “I think the walk has remained a mainstay for so many years because it’s a free event and it appeals to so many different kinds of people:

walks Art

By Corey Radman

Art is the signature of civilizations. Beverly Sills, operatic soprano

young families with children to older couples,” says Oliver. Peggy Lyle, programming and event director for Downtown Fort Collins, can attest to the event’s impact on the district. “We can tell from the influx of activity that happens on those first Fridays – the fullness of restaurants and parking – that it’s an ongoing favorite.”

Loveland A longtime friend and former employee of Oliver’s, Billie Colson, learned about the impact a gallery walk can have when she worked at Old Town Art & Framery. After moving to Loveland and opening her own Independence Gallery (named for her birthday on July 4), one of the first things Colson pursued was a similar event. “I could see tons of cars from people going

Lydia’s STYLE Magazine

2010-04 Lydia's Style Magazine  
2010-04 Lydia's Style Magazine  

April - Northern Colorado Economy A powerful issue with an article focus on Northern Colorado’s business, building, economy, lifestyle an...