The art market represents a sector of economic activity that is highly entrepreneurial and comprised of many small businesses and individuals. Since the bulk of production and sales takes place through these micro-enterprises, there are numerous problems present for the researcher seeking to measure it. Unlike the nonprofit sector of the visual arts, the for-profit art market mostly has no public reporting requirements. The art market’s activity remains largely opaque as it is difficult to gather an accurate field representation or total measurements from such a large number of small enterprises.
This paper represents the first stage in the development of new tools for the measuring of the art market by making use of US government data derived from tax and labor statistics, and by measuring the Colorado art market for the year 2017. The data in this paper is used to illustrate the connection between arts and entrepreneurship and how this sector serves to support the wider Colorado economy. It also establishes the methodology for measuring the entire US art market for the year 2018. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Research: Art Works grant will fund the report and release it in early 2020.
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