$33M Stimulus Approved for Creative Arts, Meetings and Events Industries

Photo by Richard Haro Photography LLC. People dance to the music at the Arise Music Festival Sunday Aug. 5, 2018, in Loveland.

Governor Polis recently signed HB21-1263 and HB21-1285, which will create jobs in the creative arts and meetings and events industries. The new laws are part of the Colorado Comeback state stimulus plan to help Colorado recover faster and build back stronger.

“This has been a tough year for artists, venues, and the creative industry,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “While federal relief has been critical, many individuals and small businesses in the arts industry couldn’t access it and are struggling to bounce back. This funding will create jobs and will help us build back a vibrant creative arts industry that is vital to Colorado’s economy.”

“Cultural facilities strengthen our communities, but many have been shuttered or have had productions put on pause,” said Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Commerce City. “By boosting funding for cultural groups, we will help keep people employed at these critical centers of public life and help our communities thrive.”

Sponsored by Representatives Leslie Herod and Adrienne Benavidez, HB21-1285 provides $23M to support artists and cultural organizations that have been impacted by COVID-19 throughout the state. This includes funding for the performance-based film incentive, cultural facilities that provide programming for historically marginalized and under-resourced communities, and the CO Creative Industries grant program that provides relief for artists and arts organizations.

“Everyone can see that Colorado is an incredible place to host a conference, festival, wedding, and much more,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon. “This bill will help jumpstart our tourism economy by helping to make Colorado the first choice for anyone looking for a place to host an event. I’m grateful Governor Polis has signed this bill into law that will help our restaurants, hotels, bars and so many other small businesses that are connected to the events and meetings industry.”

HB21-1263, sponsored by Representatives Dylan Roberts and Matt Soper, creates the Meeting & Events Incentive Program within the Office of Economic Development & International Trade’s Colorado Tourism Office. The program would provide rebates to incentivize planners to host events in Colorado, bolstering the tourism economy and industry and supporting thousands of small businesses across the State. The bill appropriates $10 million for the program.

Eligible events must generate at least 25 overnight stays. The bill stipulates that the Tourism Office must support events equitably and proportionally across the state and prioritize events with potential to generate local business earnings and tax revenues. Eligible events would receive up to a 10 percent rebate of the hard costs of the event and a 25 percent rebate of the COVID-19 related costs. Finally, a small portion of the funds may be used to provide up-front support to attract large events that impact multiple counties and have the potential to generate significant economic impact.

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