Culture is big business in Metro Denver
The area is the cultural capital of the Rocky Mountain region and is home to the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the nation’s largest arts complex under one roof. Visitors can attend the symphony, ballet, opera, theatre, and touring productions there, and at numerous exhibiting institutions and performance venues throughout the area.
Citizens in Metro Denver support arts and culture through the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a voter-approved sales tax earmarking one cent of every $10 in retail sales to support art, culture, and scientific organizations in the seven-county Metro Denver area. A national model for funding culture, the SCFD contributes more than $57 million annually across Metro Denver. in 2017, SCFD supported over 275 arts and culture organizations that served a total of 14.7 million people. In November 2016, citizens in Metro Denver voted overwhelmingly to extend the district and tax to 2030.
And culture creates a measurable economic impact throughout the region. The biennial Economic Activity Study of Metro Denver Culture released by the Denver Business Committee for Arts showed arts have a total $1.9 billion of economic activity in the region.
According to an economic benefits study conducted in 2017, the Denver Zoo is expected to add $488 million to the city and county of Denver over the next five years. The zoo was the top visitor destination in 2016, followed by Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre and the Denver Art Museum, according to the report. More than 2 million people visited the zoo last year, and 8.7 percent.