Understanding the current state of culture in Boulder is critical to accomplishing the goals of the Community Cultural Plan. Outcomes in the community are measured through projects like cultural asset mapping, a census of professional artists, and the Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 study.
Research by the Office of Arts + Culture
The nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $115.1 million in annual economic activity in Boulder, Colorado – supporting 2,451 jobs and generating $21.9 million in local, state, and federal government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 national economic impact study. Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading industry group committed to advancing the arts and arts education. The study demonstrates that arts and culture are a critical economic driver of vibrant communities locally as well as nationally.
Since 2016, recipients of the General Operating Support (GOS) Grants were asked to complete a survey with information about key indicators. This has helped staff, members of the Arts Commission, and City Council to understand the impacts of the Cultural Grants Program and to do a “temperature check” on the health of the cultural community. This year continues on a theme with an examination of the indicators of the fallout and recovery from the pandemic.
Since 2016, recipients of the General Operating Support (GOS) Grants were asked to complete a survey with information about key indicators. This has helped staff, members of the Arts Commission, and City Council to understand the impacts of the Cultural Grants Program and the health of the cultural community. This year, the extraordinary events of 2020 are the focus. The data provides look back at the progress of these indicators over time. And, what that can tell us about the impacts of the pandemic and recession.
“According to the National Endowment for the Arts, Boulder has the third highest concentration of professional artists in the nation per capita…”
The City of Boulder is fortunate to have such a creative community of artists working here. To learn more about the important role artists play in our local economy and society, the Office of Arts and Culture conducted a series of studies to better understand the lives of professional, practicing artists. A census survey, focus groups and reviewing related studies from across the state and nation, helps us gain a clearer picture of how our artists are surviving and thriving as workers and small business owners in Boulder.
The nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $69.8 million in annual economic activity in the City of Boulder, Colorado – supporting 1,832 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $4.6 million in local and state government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study. The most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading industry group committed to advancing the arts and arts education.
On November 17, 2015, City Council voted unanimously and with much enthusiasm to adopt the Community Cultural Plan. We continue to work towards progress on our shared vision for culture:
Together, we will craft Boulder’s social, physical, and cultural environment to include creativity as an essential ingredient for the well being, prosperity, and joy of everyone in the community.
Cultural Asset Mapping is a tool for understanding the cultural and creative value of specific community resources: theaters, museums and galleries, public art, artist studios, music venues, historic sites, education and maker spaces, murals, and more. By charting the geography of arts and culture, we can better understand the economic, social, and public health benefits of these assets for our neighborhoods. This concept is a component of “social infrastructure”: the potential of arts and culture to improve the stable foundations of our community and advance important initiatives such as climate change, public safety, and resilience.
Research by Outside Parties
In 2022, the City of Boulder ranked again in the top 10 most arts-vibrant, medium sized communities in the U.S. SMU DataArts recognizes that arts and cultural organizations are inextricably tied to their communities and combines data from nonprofit arts and cultural organizations with data for the communities in which they reside to identify factors that affect the health and sustainability of arts organizations across the nation. The report provides insight into which counties across the United States have the highest scores on three key measures: Arts Providers, Arts Dollars, and Government Support, which can fluctuate year to year.
A 2020 report ranked Boulder, Colorado the eighth most vibrant arts community among medium-sized U.S. cities. On Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University in Dallas released their Arts Vibrancy Index Report ranking Boulder eighth for the most arts-vibrant medium-sized community in America. This is the first time in the study’s five-year history that Boulder has appeared in the top ten list.
The rankings are found by analyzing per capita data specifically focusing on supply, demand and public support. Supply is gauged as total arts providers, demand measures the total nonprofit arts dollars in the community, and public support as state and federal arts funding.
Boulder, Colorado ranked number 3 on the Top 30 Creative Small Cities List in 2017 and 2018. The city’s CVI value is 1.89, nearly double the US average. In 2017, Boulder’s creative industries generated $117.2 million in revenue for the city. Boulder is home to more than twice as many art dealers as the national average. Dance companies were the city’s fastest growing creative industry, generating close to $1.8 million in earnings. Nearly 12,651 creative workers were employed in this city. Creative jobs were 63% more concentrated in this city than in other similarly sized regions, a number that is projected to grow 10% in the next five years. There were more graphic designers employed within Boulder’s creative economy than any other occupation, followed by public relations specialists and architects. Last year, Boulder’s creative economy generated approximately $52 million in nonprofit revenues into the city’s creative economy.