GVSU students calculate economic impact of ArtPrize


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As the city gears up for the second ArtPrize competition this fall, researchers have found that roughly 200,000 visitors generated an estimated economic impact of as much as $7.6 million during the contest’s inaugural run.

This year’s ArtPrize competition runs Sept. 22-Oct. 10. Two groups of senior economics students at Grand Valley State University, under the guidance of economics professor Paul Isely, studied the economic impact of last year’s ArtPrize on Kent County at the request of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority. The students found that the estimated 150,000-200,000 visitors to Grand Rapids generated between $5 million and $7.6 million.

The results of these efforts were initially presented to a group consisting of representatives from ArtPrize, the Downtown Development Authority, and the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which helped refine the results.

Results showed:

  • Between 7,500 and 10,000 visitors came from more than 160 miles away and likely stayed overnight
  • 31,500-42,000 visitors came from between 30 and 160 miles away and were likely day visitors who came to Grand Rapids specifically for ArtPrize
  • 111,000-148,000 visitors came from less than 30 miles away
  • Direct spending by visitors traveling more than 30 miles is estimated to be between $2.8 million and $3.8 million of which:
  • $787,500 to $1.1 million was spent on food services
  • $212,500 to $283,333 was spent on lodging, assuming triple occupancy
  • $1.8 million to $2.3 million was spent on entertainment, gasoline, retail items, and other items accounted
  • The direct spending supported between 206 and 274 full-time jobs in Kent County during September and October of 2009

The total effect on Kent County by visitors traveling from more than 30 miles away from Grand Rapids is estimated to be between $5 million and $7.6 million supporting 415-550 full-time jobs in Kent County during September and October 2009.

For additional information, contact Paul Isely at (616) 331-7418 or Jay Fowler, executive director, Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, at (616) 456-3034.