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Arts, Culture Contribute $13 Billion To Colorado Economy

Geoff Livingston/Creative Commons
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts complex

When you think about economic drivers, you probably think of agriculture or manufacturing.

But a new study shows that in Colorado creative industries outperformed mining, transportation and agriculture.

In 2015 -- the most recent year the data was available -- creative industries contributed 100,631 jobs and $13.6 billion to Colorado’s economy, according to the joint study by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account tracks the annual economic impact of arts and cultural production from 35 commercial and non-profit industries.

“The robust data present in the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account show through hard evidence how and where arts and culture contribute value to the economies of communities throughout the nation,” NEA Chairperson Jane Chu said in a news release. “The data confirm that the arts play a meaningful role in our daily lives, including through the jobs we have, the products we purchase, and the experiences we share.”

Nationally, the arts contributed more than $763 billion, accounting for 4.2 percent of the GDP and providing a $20 billion trade surplus.

Stacy was KUNC's arts and culture reporter from 2015 to 2021.