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Economic impact of ArtPrize appears to be growing

aPorte works on one panel of his pencil drawing that won ArtPrize
Art Prize winner Chris LaPorte works on one panel of his pencil drawing

A new surveyshows this year's ArtPrize attracted more people from outside Grand Rapids than last year's contest. Preliminary numbers show half the people who participated in ArtPrize came from outside of the Grand Rapids area. Only 6% came from outside of Michigan.

Grand Valley State University economics professor Paul Sicilian helped his students conduct the study. He says visitors spent most of their money on food. Sicilian says downtown hotels were also full of overnight and conference guests, "I've had people make the argument that some of those conventions are only in town because ArtPrize was going on," Sicilian said. "But other people would say that's not right. And I haven't learned enough yet to know whether we're going to be able to pull that apart. We do have the one question - we asked the people what was your primary reason for being here' and like I say 88% of our sample said it was ArtPrize."

Sicilian says it's too soon to say exactly how many people attended ArtPrize or its total economic impact. Those conclusions are expected later this fall.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.