Visitor spending at ArtPrize documented in GVSU survey

October 18, 2010
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The proof is in the numbers. And the numbers keep right on talking.

A survey conducted by Grand Valley State University students tracked where ArtPrize 2010 visitors came from and how much money they spent. Economics and hospitality and tourism management students surveyed about 850 people in downtown Grand Rapids during the event; Experience Grand Rapids helped coordinate the data. The results indicate:

  • 50 percent of attendees were local Grand Rapids residents, while almost 6 percent came from outside Michigan. Of those surveyed, 88 percent indicated that ArtPrize was their primary purpose to visit downtown Grand Rapids.

  • Visitors who came from outside Grand Rapids (50 percent) stayed in Grand Rapids for two days on average. Approximately 33 percent of non-locals stayed multiple days. The average visit for those who stayed multiple days was about 3.3 days.

  • Approximately 10 percent of non-local attendees stayed in a hotel/motel or B&B (21 percent stayed with a friend or relative).

  • 55.6 percent of respondents registered to vote for their favorite artwork. More than half (56.1 percent) attended ArtPrize last year.

  • The average spending by local groups or parties was $72.31, whereas groups from outside of Grand Rapids spent an average of $156.22.

  • The average spending by respondents who traveled less than 50 miles was $67.79, whereas those who traveled 50 miles or more spent an average of $273.49.

Grand Valley students, with guidance from economics and hospitality and tourism management faculty, will develop estimates of the total economic impact of ArtPrize 2010 using the data collected from this survey. The results will be released later this fall.

Some staggering figures

Grand Valley State University President Tom Haas perked the ears of his Grand Rapids Rotary Club audience last week when he stressed the importance of state budget support for higher education with this nugget: For every 1 percent increase in college-degreed individuals in Michigan, there is a $1 billion annual return in economic impact to Michigan each year.

Haas also noted in this 50th anniversary year of the school that founder William Seidman predicted just prior to the school’s founding in 1960 that the local market would one day support a university student population of 25,000 students. The current enrollment stands at 24,541. This is the 28th year in a row in which GVSU enrolled more students than the year prior. Last year’s enrollment was 24,408.

Lambert Edwards soaring

When it rains, it pours at Grand Rapids public relations firm Lambert Edwards & Associates Inc.

PR News this month named the company its Small Firm of the Year Platinum PR Award winner from among nine contenders with annual revenue below $10 million.

This comes on top of another major award, Small PR Firm of the Year, from PRWeek; receiving a Public Relations Society of American Silver Anvil for the Bibles Across America campaign on behalf of Zondervan; and a move to its own building at 47 Commerce St. SW.

Last year, LE&A purchased John Bailey & Associates Public Relations, based in Detroit.

“We can look back at all these things and there is a momentum to them. They are based upon really a decade worth of progress and growth,” President and Managing Partner Jeff Lambert said.

The acquisition of John Bailey & Associates has given LE&A offices, staff members and clients in Detroit and Lansing.

“What our future looks like is continuing to attract better people and continuing to raise the bar. Also, we want the best clients — not just in Michigan but nationwide,” Lambert said, noting that the client base already extends into 20 states. “I think acquisitions will be part of our future.”

Granted some help

Cherry Street Health Services captured a $5.94 million grant, part of $727 million the federal Department of Health and Human Services doled out for capital investments in community health centers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Chris Shea, executive director, said $5.1 million is going toward the $30 million Heart of the City Health Center under construction at Cherry Street and Sheldon Avenue SE. The remainder will be spent at the West Side Health Center, 669 Stocking St. NW.

“This is extremely crucial. We have definitely had a struggle in putting together funding for the project. We would not be able to do the West Side project at all without the funding,” Shea said.

“Even with this funding, we need to come up with community contributions. The struggle isn’t over yet.”

CSHS will occupy the 79,300-square-foot Heart of the City building along with Touchstone Innovare and Proaction Behavioral Alliance. “We’re featuring an integration of behavioral and physical health services we think will be unique in this part of the country,” Shea said. CSHS expects to occupy at least part of the building by June and all of it by September.

The latest grant builds on a $2.4 million investment in CSHS under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocated $605,613 to expand services and $1.8 million for the capital improvement program.

Some $2 billion went to support community health centers nationwide under ARRA.

Healthy, green care

Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital is hosting the Michigan Green Health Care Conference Friday.

Josh Miller, sustainability coordinator for Spectrum Health, said the event will present sessions of interest to health care facility managers as well as those who work in the area of supply chain, environmental services, design and construction. Miller is chair of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association’s Green Health Care Committee.

“It’s open to pretty much anyone in any industry,” he said.

Among the topics to be covered are building a green team, geothermal, storm water design, pharmaceutical waste, healthy food, recycling, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Wise program.

The conference includes lunch and a tour of the Energy Center that powers Butterworth Hospital and the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion.

“I think just as more and more awareness comes around with the connection between the environment and human health, more hospitals are becoming aware of that,” Miller told Business Journal reporter Elizabeth Slowik. “As the economy — the poor shape that it is in — makes energy efficiency and waste management more appealing, we are able to really show cost savings back to the organization with a short payback period.”

Sponsored by the MHA and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Energy, the conference runs 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost is $50. To register, go to www.michigan.gov/dnreworkshops.

This is the third Michigan Green Health Care Conference and the second to be conducted in Grand Rapids. The first one occurred at Metro Health.

TRIBUTE! marches on


For more than 30 years, the YWCA's Annual TRIBUTE! Awards have honored more than 175 women representing “a distinguished sorority of leaders and trail-blazers.” The TRIBUTE! luncheon, where honorees receive formal recognition, takes place Nov. 16 at DeVos Place.

Reservations are $50 each and can be made online (www.ywcawcmi.org) or by calling (616) 459-4681.

This year’s award recipients are:

  • Laurie Cirivello, Community Media Center, Arts category.

  • Yolanda Cornejo, East Kentwood High School, Student.

  • Candace Cowling, Child and Family Resource Council, Advocacy.

  • Karen Kaashoek, Catherine's Care Center, Sports, Fitness & Wellness.

  • Stacy McGinnis, Kent County Juvenile Detention Center, Professions.

  • Linda Patterson, Mary Free Bed Guild, Community Service.

  • Jo-Anne Perkins, Cascade Engineering, Business, Management, Industry & Labor.

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