Arts scene fuels Chandler with cash - East Valley Tribune: News

Arts scene fuels Chandler with cash

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Posted: Wednesday, August 1, 2007 1:09 am | Updated: 5:38 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The economic impact of Chandler’s blossoming arts scene has increased 83 percent since 2002, according to a recent study conducted by a national arts-promotion group.

New York-based Americans for the Arts tracked the economic impact of nonprofit arts organizations in 156 communities nationwide. The study looked at event-related expenditures, such as arts patrons’ restaurant tabs or shopping bills. It did not include ticket sales for performances.

In Chandler, the economic impact from arts has jumped from $3.9 million in 2002 to $7.12 million now, according to the study.

Katrina Mueller, manager of Chandler Center for the Arts, attributed the increased impact to the city’s growing population, which has translated into a boost in ticket sales at the center. The city jointly owns and operates the Chandler Center for the Arts with the Chandler Unified School District.

The facility, at Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard, is just north of the city’s historic district, which has seen its own boost in arts-related businesses and events in the last year.

Mueller said the arts center has been reaching out to downtown restaurants by letting performancegoers know about amenities within walking distance.

“It’s becoming more than an arts event,” she said. “People are planning a whole evening of events.”

The Chandler Art Guild launched its First Wednesday ArtWalk in February and has seen a steady increase in membership ever since. The last art walk in June hosted 50 to 60 artists in the downtown Chandler square. No art walk was held in July, but it will resume today.

The guild has promoted its event through “guerrilla marketing,” consisting of donated fliers, free online calender listings and word-of-mouth advertising, guild president Ron Floyd said.

Floyd said he’s seen the city’s art scene take off and believes it will only get better as residential projects continue to develop in the downtown area.

“One of the problems that most downtowns have, and Chandler’s no different, is that people tend to go home at night,” he said. “If you have people living downtown, that creates a different atmosphere.”

The city contributes money for some arts-related events and owns the Vision Gallery in the downtown square. Chandler has set aside $100,000 for performers in the city’s annual Jazz Festival, scheduled for April.

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