Study: ArtPrize 2010 adds more than $7 million to Grand Rapids economy

Mar 2, 2011

Economists at Grand Valley State University estimate last year’s ArtPrize added up to $7.5 million dollars; that’s just a little more than the first ArtPrize in 2009. But the study’s authors say they kept their estimates conservative.

GVSU economics professor Paul Sicilian helped his students conduct the study. They interviewed hundreds of downtown visitors during the two-week-long-contest.

Direct spending at ArtPrize 2010

  • More than $2.8 million on food
  • About $721,000 on lodging
  • Nearly $589,000 on transportation
  • About $684,000 on retail purchases
  • About $168,000 on tourism.

Sicilian says ArtPrize wasn’t a huge part of the hospitality industry’s annual GDP in Grand Rapids; just 1%. But he says the way they created the study made the estimate conservative.

“While we collected spending information from locals we just assumed it would have been spent anyways. So any dollar value we come up with is very likely an underestimate.”

Nearly all of those surveyed were from Michigan. Around half considered themselves ‘locals’.

Sicilian notes ArtPrize may have bigger impacts that are impossible to quantify.

“The city gets to showcase itself, there’s a tremendous amount of civic pride and community involvement. You just cannot measure either in dollar terms or certainly even in the short run.”

ArtPrize 2011 is set for September 21st – October 9th.