City turning to arts, food, and culture to boost local economy

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Arts, Hearts & Tarts kicks off Monday. It's Grand Junction's month-long celebration of fine art, culture and food and it's an attempt to draw local people to local businesses.

"I think we have a lot to offer in Grand Junction," says Chris Logsdon, an employee at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens. "I don't think people always take advantage of it because it's hard to get out of the house sometimes."

Logsdon says she believes most people in the Valley know that the Botanical Gardens exist -- but she also believes most of them have no clue what the gardens hold or what kinds of things actually take place there.

"I think once you've been here you'll come back," she says. "Often times, when something is free, you get there and decide 'Yeah, I'd really like to be a member, I'd like to support whatever it is.'"

During the Arts, Hearts & Tarts celebration this month, the Gardens will host free events, take Valentine's Day pictures of couples in their rainforest room. They're even offering couples a romantic dinner in the rainforest room.

"Maybe it gets people to a new location," says Jennifer Grossheim Harris, public relations manager for the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau. "We have a lot of unique venues."

She says during a historically slow sales period, and particularly during the recession, it's more important than ever to promote local business to local people. "That is absolutely the intention of the program, is to pair some things together, promote them as a business," she says.

That plan appears to be working. Since the VCB first launched Arts, Hearts & Tarts three years ago, the number of people visiting their site to download the event calendar, and the number of people going to those events have increased about 20 percent each year.

"Oh, I think it makes a difference," says Logsdon.

To see the full rundown of events, concerts, gallery openings and special offers, click the link below:

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