Written by David Marty, Reif President/

I often hear people talking about the arts in our community as being a very nice amenity…something that makes our community a nice place to live.  The arts are recognized as a pleasant diversion.  People enjoy seeing great performances at The Reif, and we regularly find fans traveling great distances to follow favorite artists.  We know that 40% of our Reif audiences travel over an hour to attend performances here.

But people sometimes overlook the fact that, in addition to creating a great ambiance in our community, the arts have a major economic impact.  This is not only true nationally and statewide, but right here in our community.  A recent study revealed that our nonprofit arts and culture organizations have a $5.1 Million economic impact in Grand Rapids.  That includes direct jobs and also indirect revenue from lodging, meals, gas and shopping.  Our local arts attendees, on average, spend $19.85 in our community (in addition to the cost of the ticket), while each visitor spends $44.96 in our community.  And our local nonprofit arts and culture sector generates audiences of over 86,000 people in a year.

So, the arts make Grand Rapids a great community to live in, to visit, and have a tremendous economic impact.  A double win for the Grand Rapids area!