A thriving arts and culture scene does more than add character and vibrancy to a city. It also promotes financial growth.

The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering the arts and promoting connections between business and the arts, will once again join the national nonprofit Americans for the Arts for its "Arts & Economic Prosperity 5" study.

Every five years for the past two decades, Americans for the Arts, an organization that advances the arts and arts education, has studied the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences.

The public is invited to a free "Coffee with COPPeR" event to discuss the study from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Jan. 28 at the Tim Gill Center for Public Media.

This is the third study COPPeR has participated in. The last came out in 2012 and found the nonprofit arts industry and its audience have an annual economic impact of $72 million in the Pikes Peak region and help to generate and support more than 2,100 jobs.

COPPeR's executive director, Andy Vick, believes the new study, expected for release in 2017, will reflect an even greater number.

"We do contribute to the economic vitality of the community over and above quality of life issues and the intrinsic value of arts and culture," he said. "When we're speaking to elected leaders or people in the business community, we're able to make the case for the importance of the arts with solid data from a trusted source."

About 300 organizations across the country will also participate in the study.

COPPeR will collect two pieces of data for analysis by Americans for the Arts, including last year's financial data from about 400 local nonprofit arts and culture organizations, including theater and dance companies, museums, festivals and arts education organizations, and at least 800 short, anonymous surveys of attendees at unspecified events throughout the year. The survey asks how much money patrons spent on items, including meals, parking and transportation and retail shopping as a result of attending the event.

The Thomas MacLaren School, a charter school that emphasizes arts education, will also be part of the process. Students will help hand out surveys at events, Vick said, and learn firsthand what it means to support the arts community.

Previous "Arts & Economic Prosperity" studies show the average event attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission. About 32 percent of those attendees travel from outside the county in which the arts event took place and spend almost $40 per person.

The results of the studies are used in numerous ways, including by nonprofit arts and culture organizations that hope the data will help increase funding.

"It (the study) provides a lot of good information in terms of how the arts have an important role to play in the economic circumstances of our community," Vick said.

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