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A new report shows the arts industry is starting to bounce back

Jazz band concert with saxophone in focus up front
Jens Thekkeveettil
A jazz band concert

The Utah Cultural Alliance along with the Utah Division of Arts and Museums and Salt Lake County Arts and Culture released the Cultural Industry Economic Impact Report Tuesday at a press conference in Salt Lake City. Speaker of the House Brad Wilson said the arts industry is no stranger to hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a lot of ways, the last couple of years have been difficult on our souls,” Wilson said. “The thing that arts does for I think my family and for me is it's just good for my soul.”

The report says that in 2019 Utah cultural entertainment made 19.3 billion in sales, but in 2020 sales dropped to 17.8 billion. Salt Lake County Arts and Culture division director Matt Castillo said the arts industry continues to push forward despite the drop.

“The arts and culture industry does this for the love of performing and the passion of engaging and enriching their communities, but often at greater expense, and with less revenue,” Castillo said.

Numbers have started to bounce back, but the report says the industry is 3% off its target. Senate President Stuart Adams said these numbers aren’t all discouraging.

“In the middle of this pandemic, those aren't the numbers we want. We'd always like to see growth,” Adams said. “But those are good numbers because of what we've done to try to maintain our cultural arts during this pandemic.”

No matter what, UCA executive director Crystal Young said Utah is still on top.

“Utah does the business of living better than any other state indeed,” Young said. “The cultural industry is a core keystone of Utah being the best economy with the best quality of life.”

Leaders said they were looking forward to new legislation by Sen. Cullimore and Sen. Winterton this session.

Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.