Economic Lookout: Art crawl as economic development

MinnEcon note: Brent Olson is a Big Stone County commissioner who keeps a close eye on the western Minnesota economy. A few weeks ago he looked at whether the hundreds of one-person businesses in his rural county are being shut out of grants and other aid because they’re technically not creating jobs.

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Brent Olson | Otrey Township, Big Stone County

In today’s post, he tells us how the Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl, held in early October, has turned into kind of a big deal, economically. (Disclosure: He’s affiliated with the event. I don’t think it discounts his points.)

“What’s interesting is that every year the sponsors are easier to find, because local businesses have realized that scruffy potters and musicians might not have much money, but they can attract folks who do have money.” says Olson.

“Some of those people will look at the cost of real estate and the other attractions of the area and make a move…As economic development goes, it’s a long way from attracting a computer factory or building an ethanol plant, but it works, and providing a welcoming community for artists can pay dividends a long way down the road.”

Check out his video, then post your thoughts below.

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