2008 Economic Activity Study
of Metro Denver Culture

“The Business of Culture”

Click here for the study results brochure.

People may consider theaters, museums and other arts, cultural and scientific nonprofits to be “organizations” or “institutions.” But in actuality, they are businesses. They employ operations and marketing professionals, accountants, managers, executives and the like in addition to artists. As is the case with any business, those in the business of culture also exchange goods and services for money – a significant amount of money – which goes into the economy to everyone’s benefit.

The Colorado Business Committee for the Arts understands the economic value culture brings to metro Denver. For 18 years, CBCA and Deloitte have published biennial Economic Activity Study results because we know that the arts are important to business and economic development in addition to the quality of life in our community.
The 2008 CBCA Economic Activity Study of Metro Denver Culture reflects information collected in 2007 from 93% of the nonprofits funded by Scientific Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) across the seven-county area including Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties. The data was analyzed by Deloitte Consulting LLP and DualDraw LLC.

The study numbers illustrate that “the business of culture” has a significant impact on the economy as well as an important role to play in our community. And, each of us contributes by participating, promoting, learning, supporting, attending, volunteering, donating and spreading the word.


Key findings of the study include:

Denver’s arts and cultural community created $1.69 billion in total economic activity in 2007, up 19% from 2005.

The 2007 $42 million of SCFD funding to nearly 300 organizations is a catalyst for the nearly $1.7 billion of cultural economic activity in the seven-county area.

Nearly $331 million was generated from cultural tourism at area arts, cultural and scientific institutions.

  • The combined payroll, seat and sales taxes paid in 2007 by arts, cultural and scientific nonprofits were $21.3 million, up 31% over 2005.
  • In 2007, nearly 40,000 people contributed their time and talent by volunteering in arts, cultural and scientific nonprofits.
  • Metro Denver cultural and scientific organizations enjoyed attendance of over 16.4 million in 2007, an increase of 17% over 2005.
  • Included in the 16.4 million total visits were 3.5 million contacts with school children in 2007.
  • Over 1.1 million residents attended education classes offered by arts and cultural institutions, a 44% increase over 2005.

Economic Activities Study of Metro Denver Culture