Report: Arts employ thousands in Utah

May 31, 2013

A new report by a national arts organization says the creative industries in Utah employ nearly 30,000 people and account for roughly 5 percent of all businesses in the state. UPR’s Matt Jensen has more.

From its earliest days, Utah has been home to choirs and performing arts venues. So it’s no surprise to the men and women who work in today’s creative and entertainment industries that the state has a robust artistic workforce. Utahns enjoy professional theater and ballet, art museums, galleries and opera companies. The new report by Americans for the Arts, says Utah is home to 8,739 arts-related businesses that employ 29,989 residents.

The Ellen Eccles Theatre in Logan
Credit Cache Valley Center for the Arts

In fact, the report is likely an underestimate because it accounts only for arts organizations that participate in the analysis.

Wally Bloss is executive director of the Cache Valley Center for the Arts, a complex with art galleries and the famous Ellen Eccles Theatre.

“I think many people know that the arts are a significant economic generator in Cache County, and this just proves that,” he said.

Bloss says the study goes beyond theater and performing arts companies, and includes information on design and electronic media arts in the Beehive State.

“A pretty broad way of looking at it certainly includes the performing arts that we think of in a traditional way; but it also gets into film and TV and design and advertising, architecture, publishing, and all sorts of things that are a way of looking at the creative vitality of an area,” he said.

Gary Griffin, managing director of the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, says the organization’s economic impact is in excess of $10 million a year. The company produces a summer opera and musical theater season that attracts artists, designers, technicians and, of course, patrons from all over the West.

“Most of the people that come to our organization are coming from outside of the valley,” said Griffin. “They’re staying overnight; they’re eating in our restaurants and in our hotels. A lot of the Summer Citizens that come here on the university program come here specifically because the opera and musical theater company is here. So there’s a lot of money that comes into this valley as a result of the arts.”

Click here to see the report for the state of Utah

Click here to see the report for Cache County