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2015 Meander Economic Impact

by Melissa on December 4th, 2015

header 2015The annual Meander Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl Economic Impacts report has been released.

The report reveals that fifty percent of those surveyed during the 2015 Meander were first time participants.  Eighty five percent of those survey said they would return next year. Eighty three percent said their overall experience of the Meander was excellent. Twenty one percent of those surveyed traveled to the Upper Minnesota River Valley Region from the Twin Cities and more than $99,000 of art was purchased over the three day Meander weekend.

“The Meander seems to have hit its stride now after 12 years. It has become signature event for the region, featuring our quality of life and raising the profile of our local artists, while generating economic activity in small towns throughout the river valley.” – Kristi Fernholz, UMVRDC Senior Planner

According to surveys returned by Meander visitors and the artists themselves, the average Meander customer spent $29 on food and gas and $11 on shopping other than art in the region.  When multiplied by the estimated 2000 Meanderers who took part in the weekend, it is estimated that at least $80,000 flowed into the small towns of the 5 county region (Big Stone, Swift, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine) served by the UMVRDC.

According to Fernholz, the process of organizing and publicizing the Meander creates its own multiplier effect of dollars circulated through the local economy. Seventy one percent of the funds raised locally from Meander sponsors and artists were spent on products or services (printing, paper, advertising, graphic design, staffing) in the five county area.  Furthermore, the Meander organizers spent more than $10,000 on advertising in 2015 which is 27% of the total budget required to put on the event every year.

The average Meander traveling party involved 2.7 people and on average they visited 11 studios over the weekend.

“It all adds up to a memorable and positive experience featuring the good people, the creativity and beautiful landscape of our prairie waters region. It is one of the best things we can do to attract new families and professionals to our communities.” – Fernholz

For more information on the Meander, call 1-866-866-5432 or visit

By the numbers 

$99,303 Total reported Meander art sales to customers during the Meander weekend.
(39 surveys reported) 2014 reported $108,207 with 42 surveys returned
$2,546 Average reported art sales per artist. (same as 2014)
71% Money raised to organize the Meander through sponsors and artists was spent on products or services (printing, paper, advertising, graphic design, staffing) in the five county area.  Meander spent over $10,000 on advertising in 2015; 27% of the total budget.
11-1200 Reported total number of customers at individual studios for the entire weekend.
11 studios Average number of studios customers visited.
2.7 people per travel party (on average)
81% of customers said the quality of the art was excellent
83% of customers said their overall experience was excellent
50% did NOT attend last year
85% plan to attend again next year
14% maybe plan to attend next year
41% came from within 5-county area
24% came from greater Minnesota (outside 5-county area)
21% came from the metro area
13% came from out of state

Average Expenditures per Customer
(281 reporting in 2015 vs 385 in 2014 )
$113 on Meander Art ($121 in 2014)
$29 on Food/Gas ($40 in 2014)
$11 on Shopping, other than art ($12 in 2014)
$5 on Lodging ($11 in 2014)

From → News, Take Note!

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