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Colorado’s State Arts Agency Gets First Budget Increase in Over a Decade

On Monday, April 29, Governor Polis awarded $1.25 Million in additional operating funds to Colorado’s state arts agency, Colorado Creative Industries (CCI).

ColoradoBiz Staff //May 3, 2024//

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vector illustration of virtual business assistant. flat icon on smartphone is merged all accounts, money, cards investment management. graphic design business vector, mobile banking

Colorado’s State Arts Agency Gets First Budget Increase in Over a Decade

On Monday, April 29, Governor Polis awarded $1.25 Million in additional operating funds to Colorado’s state arts agency, Colorado Creative Industries (CCI).

ColoradoBiz Staff //May 3, 2024//

On Monday, April 29, Governor Polis signed Colorado’s FY24-25 state budget, which included $1.25 Million in additional operating funds to Colorado’s state arts agency, Colorado Creative Industries (CCI). This is the agency’s first operating budget increase in over a decade.

READ: Governor Polis, OEDIT Announce 180 Small Business Accelerated Growth Program Grants

CCI is a division of the Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) and serves as Colorado’s state arts agency.

Currently, CCI is funded through an appropriation of gaming revenue, which has been set in statute at a flat $2 Million annually since 2013. CCI also receives matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which require a 1:1 match with state funds and must meet federal requirements.

The FY23-24 distribution from the NEA was over $900,000 or 47% of CCI’s state appropriation. As the NEA matching funds have increased in recent years, this situation has limited CCI’s ability to grow and continue innovative, proven programs that don’t meet the federal matching requirements.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that arts and cultural production accounts for $16.9 Billion and 3.9% of the Colorado economy, contributing 102,383 jobs. There are also numerous social, health and education benefits through the arts.

Colorado consistently ranks top in the country for cultural participation and the number of adults who create or perform art.

However, Colorado currently ranks 46th in the nation for State Arts Agency Legislative Appropriations Per Capita, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. This represents $0.35 per capita in state arts funding.

Colorado ranks the lowest in per capita state arts funding among Western states.

Starting in FY24-25, this additional $1.25 Million in operating funds will enable CCI to better meet current demand for existing programming and leverage federal dollars. This is over a 50% increase compared to CCI’s current level of state funding.

Considering many of CCI’s existing programs have significant unmet need, funds will continue to be invested into current successful programs and further be allocated in alignment with the priorities identified in their strategic plan and informed by community input.

CCI is kicking off a strategic planning process this spring and invites the community to share their thoughts on how CCI can best strengthen and grow Colorado’s Creative Industries ecosystem.

In addition, Governor Polis signed HB24-1397 Creative Industries Cash Fund Transfer on April 18, which will allocate a one-time investment of $500,000 to CCI for FY24-25. CCI will direct those one-time funds to support new and existing state-certified Creative Districts.

The Creative Districts program strengthens local ecosystems by integrating arts, culture and design strategies among local and cross-sector partners leading to economic, physical and social change. There are currently 30 state-certified Creative Districts in communities across the state. CCI plans to announce more details in the fall of 2024.

The advocacy efforts to increase funding for Colorado’s state arts agency were led by Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA). Numerous arts advocates across the state contacted members of the Joint Budget Committee in support of this budget increase for CCI.

READ: Economic Activity Study of Metro Denver Culture Reports Record-Breaking $2.6 Billion in Economic Activity

Starting in 2020, CBCA has stepped into the role of Colorado’s state arts advocacy entity. CBCA contracted with BBMK for lobbying assistance in 2023 and 2024. CBCA also administers the Colorado Arts Action Network, which is a grassroots mobilization platform to inform people about arts-related policies and enable people to contact their state and federal legislators directly.

In the current legislative session, CBCA is also advocating for the passage of HB24-1295 Creative Industry Community Revitalization Incentives.

Co-sponsored by Rep. Herod, Rep. Titone, Senate President Fenberg and Senator Coleman, HB24-1295 modifies the existing Community Revitalization grant program and introduces a new tax credit for capital projects that support the creative industries across the state.