Key Research in Salt Lake City Reveals Link Between Vibrant Arts Scene and Business Expansion


Cross-Post with EDCUtah

The Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), a Salt Lake City-headquartered organization that focuses on economic development in the state of Utah, recently conducted a business research survey to discover key characteristics of expanding Salt Lake City companies. One of the study’s most surprising takeaways was how critical a strong arts and entertainment industry is to a business’ desire to remain in Salt Lake City.

According to Vice President of Research and Marketing Matt Hilburn, quality of life metrics—such as arts and entertainment—play a vital role in a business’ decision when looking to expand or relocate.

“In this survey, we learned that those businesses who feel that Salt Lake City has a great arts and entertainment industry are more likely to stay in Salt Lake City when faced with an expansion opportunity,” said Hilburn. “Employers are realizing that to keep great employees they need to recognize the value of quality of life. They understand that if they were to move their business to another area that doesn’t have arts and entertainment they may have a harder time keeping their employees.”

According to the 2017 NCAR Arts Vibrancy Index, Utah ranks consistently high as having communities with vibrant arts scenes. In fact, Summit Park, UT, ranks second for small metropolitan statistical areas. Summit Park is home to the Sundance Film Festival, Park City Institute, Park City Chamber Music Society, Park City International Jazz, Park City Arts & Music Conservatory, Park City Performances, FilmUtah and the Deer Valley Music Festival. Additionally, the area’s federal arts dollars and grants are in the top one percent of all communities in the nation.

EDCUtah CEO Theresa Foxley attributes Utah’s strong history of abundant arts and entertainment scenes as a major factor in influencing companies to expand within Utah.

“We have a phenomenal arts and entertainment scene that is really enviable,” Foxley said. “One of the first things the pioneers who settled Utah built when they came to the valley was a performing arts center. A big part of Utah’s DNA is being able to access beautiful art and performing arts.”

The Salt Lake City business research survey findings reaffirmed the notion that having a strong arts and entertainment scene is crucial to a strong business economy. Without a strong quality of life, businesses are more likely to relocate to other locations that can provide more enrichment to their employees’ lives.

photo courtesy of The Sundance Institute