EDCUtah Releases Economic Profile of the Arts in Utah

In economic terms, Utah is one of the top states in the nation for the arts, with a 22% growth rate in arts-related occupations from 2013 to 2018, compared to 12% nationally over the same time period. To better articulate the impact of the creative industry, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) has released “The Arts in Utah.”

“We know from our conversations with companies in Utah and across the country that a vibrant arts culture adds to quality of life and fosters talent recruitment in all industries,” said Theresa Foxley, president and CEO of EDCUtah. “This profile presented us with the opportunity to quantify the impact of the arts in our state, to better support our corporate recruitment and retention efforts.”

In keeping with profiles EDCUtah has produced on Life Sciences, Aerospace, Software/IT and other industries, the “Arts in Utah” report consolidates a wide range of economic data. Some of the highlights of the new report include:

  • The creative industry in Utah has generated over $10 billion in annual economic impact throughout the state and created over 50,000 total jobs.
  • Utah ranks 8th nationally for percent of arts-related businesses, with a total of 7,000. This equals 2.38 arts-related businesses per 1,000 residents.
  • Utah had the highest participation in the arts nationally, according to a 2016 study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City, is one of the only markets of its size in the nation that has a full time symphony, ballet, and opera.

The Arts profile arose from a business survey EDCUtah conducted with the Department of Economic Development of Salt Lake City. “We discovered that the arts and entertainment scene is a driver of Salt Lake City’s net promoter score,” said Matt Hilburn, EDCUtah vice president of marketing and research. “The city’s cultural offerings influence a company’s likelihood to expand within the city rather than leave, when faced with an expansion opportunity.”

In the arena of corporate recruitment, the Arts are at the center of an emerging trend. “Companies that are prospects for expansion into Utah are leaning more toward employee-centric metrics, rather than the cost-centric measures of the past few years,” Hilburn said.

“It has been said in the economic development industry that focus on arts and culture is not a driver for decision-making, but we are seeing more and more that it is,” said Lara Fritts, director of Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development. “People want to live and work in cool and unique places. We know from SLC’s business survey that arts and culture not only attracts organizations to our city and state, but helps in retaining businesses and workforce as well.”

The document is available free of charge at http://edcutah.com/research.

EDCUtah would like to thank those who assisted in the development of this report. They include – among others – the following people:

  • David Pace, Repertory Dance Theatre
  • Felicia Baca, Salt Lake City Arts Council
  • Lisa Sewell, Utah Arts Festival
  • Tyler Bloomquist, Downtown Alliance
  • Jill Love, Kerri Nakamura, Greg Jeffs, Nelson Knight, and Colleen Eggett, Utah Department of Heritage and Arts
  • David Wicai and Laurel Alder, Utah Division of Arts and Museums
  • Roger Roper, Utah State Historic Preservation Office
  • Kari May, formerly with Utah State Library Division
  • Kristian Anderson, Utah MOCA
  • Virginia Pearce, Utah Film Commission
  • Sarah West, Ballet West
  • Lindsie Smith, Clark Planetarium
  • Crystal Young-Otterstrom, Utah Cultural Alliance
  • Kristin Mead


Questions? Contact Michael Stachitus, research and marketing manager, at mstachitus@edcutah.org.


Tue, 05/14/2019 - 09:47