Arts & Entertainment, Marketing, PR & Advertising, and Small Business & Startups

Creative economy worth $3.6B

Advertising industry alone is responsible for $561 million.

February 7, 2014
| By Pat Evans |
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Grand Rapids has always had a creative bent, from furniture making to brewing.

Creativity, however, isn’t always seen in the same category as making money.

But a recent survey by ArtServe Michigan shows the creative sector brings in billions of dollars to the Michigan economy. The survey, Creative State Michigan, is focused on the 2011 fiscal year, and was completed in partnership with Detroit Creative Corridor Center.

The report found the creative industries paid $3.6 billion in wages to more than 74,000 employees at nearly 10,000 businesses in Michigan. The numbers account for almost 3 percent of Michigan’s employment and wage numbers, and 4.6 percent of total state businesses.

“ArtServe expanded its data to comprehensively define and measure the influence of the creative industries to Michigan's economy by including sole proprietors, independent entrepreneurs and for-profit creative businesses, as well as nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. The results prove the creative sector is poised for growth and increased importance to maximize Michigan’s competitive advantage,” said Jennifer Goulet, president and CEO of ArtServe.

The report concluded that arts and culture represent more than $2 billion in tourism, roughly 16 percent of the $13.1 billion in 2011 tourism dollars.

The report also included information from 424 organizations. Those organizations generated more than 22 million visits, 8 million of which were free and utilized more than 50,000 volunteers.

Kent County was the only West Michigan county included in the top five counties for creative industries, according to the survey. The other four were Oakland, Wayne, Macomb and Washtenaw counties.

In Kent, there were 6,310 jobs at 764 creative establishments. In total, the wages exceeded $284 million.

Of the 424 organizations included in the report, those from Grand Rapids included Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Opera Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Ballet, Grand Rapids Film Festival, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus, Grand Rapids Symphony, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and ArtPrize, among others.

Creative businesses were broken up into three categories: core creative and cultural fields; production and manufacturing; and distribution and dissemination. The breakdown was 56 percent, 11 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Included in the various categories are advertising agencies, literary/publishing/print, design, film and broadcasting, architecture, museums, libraries, arts schools, artists, music, visual arts and performing arts.

Advertising was far and away the healthiest industry, bringing in nearly $561 million in wages in Michigan.

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