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For the week of May 1 - 7, 2002


Art and commerce make successful pair

Express Staff Writer

Is there money in art? If you’re a descendant of Picasso, perhaps—or in the non-profit arts industry, which annually has a revenue of $36.8 billion. Now, when dear old dad suggests that you get a real job, throw that number at him.

The arts in the 21st century has emerged into its rightful place as perhaps one of the most important factors in a community’s economic health, said Dan Harpole, director of the Idaho Commission on the Arts, at a talk last week in Hailey. The Wood River Arts Alliance and the Hailey Economic Society sponsored the talk.

Harpole related statistics to a group at the Old County Courthouse, including the fact that cultural tourists spend more money than the average traveler and stay for longer periods of times.

For the Wood River Valley community, that means that cultural events here—including the Sun Valley Center’s Arts and Crafts Fair, The Sun Valley Summer Symphony, various plays and concerts, gallery walks and the Swingin’ Dixie Jamboree¾ all bring people into the valley who fall into the cultural tourist category.

Harpole stressed that by increasing arts and cultural activities in a community, businesses reap the benefits.

The arts attract not just tourists to communities but families, companies looking to relocate, new employees for those companies and infrastructure entities to support those companies and families.

Harpole reminded the audience that the Idaho Commission on the Arts had various grants to be given out, thanks in part to the National Endowment for the Arts, which had its biggest budget increase last year in 10 years. "Public funding for the arts makes it so that the arts are not an elitist activity."

It’s a small investment, he said, to get the arts back to the people.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.