The Park Record editorial, August 28-31, 2010 |

The Park Record editorial, August 28-31, 2010

Arts organizations prove they are indispensable to local economy

Many Park City area merchants have been enjoying a busy summer, which is particularly gratifying in these fragile economic times. It is important to note that much of the season’s success is the direct result of the special events presented by local nonprofits.

Thanks to major attractions like the Kimball Arts Festival, the Big Stars, Bright Nights outdoor concerts, theatrical productions at The Egyptian Theatre and athletic competitions like the Park City Marathon, restaurants tables and hotel rooms have been full of musicians, artists, athletes and all of their fans.

The nonprofits’ efforts have brought thousands of tourists to Park City this summer and entertained many locals as well. But it hasn’t been easy. As one organizer admitted this week, it is a daunting task to host an event that draws more people than lived in the whole town when she first came to Park City.

In addition to the complicated logistics of presenting each event, the organizations shoulder big financial risks foremost among them that audiences will turn out and the weather will cooperate. Happily, everything fell into place — this year’s Arts Festival drew more than 50,000 attendees, the Park City Performing Arts Foundation’s Earth, Wind & Fire concert was a sellout, and more than 1,000 runners participated in the Park City Marathon.

The social calendar was also filled with smaller events free concerts presented by Mountain Town Stages, trail runs, group bike rides, parades and softball tournaments. In each case, participants likely ate, shopped and slept in Park City, thereby spreading the wealth.

Each event added to the summer’s momentum, proving that arts and culture, along with sporting events, are an important cog in the local economy. The amount of business (and just plain fun) generated by each event also justifies the numerous state, city and county grants that are awarded to many of these local nonprofit groups. The Recreation, Arts and Parks program and the Restaurant Tax grants, as well as the recent marketing grants handed out by the Utah Board of Tourism, have turned out to be wise investments.