Measuring Art Markets

The Colorado Art Market in 2017

  • Jeffrey Taylor Western Colorado University
  • Mayela Cardenas Western Colorado University
  • Stephanie Edwards NINE dot ARTS


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.

Author Biographies

Jeffrey Taylor, Western Colorado University

Jeffrey Taylor traveled to Eastern Europe in 1990 to be part of the first Peace Corps contingent in Hungary, in fact the first to ever serve in Europe. In 1996 he founded his business to provide fine art shipping services to the growing art market in Budapest. His clients, however, needed more than just transportation services: they needed an expert to guide them through the pitfalls and dangers of the highly unregulated international art market. Therefore, he founded his advisory firm, Taylor Art Services, to meet the needs of collectors and the Trade. He holds Hungarian state appraisers licenses in Antique Furniture and Oriental Carpets, and is a Certified Appraiser of Impressionist and Modern Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings, and Sculpture (the highest level of authority that an appraiser can achieve) with the Appraisers Association of America. Dr. Taylor earned his PhD. in Comparative History at the Central European University in 2011. His dissertation on the history of the Hungarian art market was published by Helena History Press in 2014 as: In Search of the Budapest Secession: The Artist Proletariat and Modernism's Rise on the Hungarian Art Market, 1800-1914. At Western Colorado University he teaches courses on the art market, curatorship, connoisseurship, and art forensics. He was the 2016 Leon Levy Fellow at the Center for the History of Collecting at the Frick Collection. In 2017, he published his second book: Visual Arts Management, as part of Routledge's arts management series, Mastering Management in Creative and Cultural Industries. ​Dr. Taylor is an internationally recognized expert on the art market and its problems. He has frequently spoken and published on the problem of art forgery. He has lectured at INTERPOL headquarters in Lyon, France, and his press appearances include: The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, 60 Minutes, New York Times, CBC Radio, The Village Voice, FoxCT, CoDesign, Artsy, ArtGuide East, and New Republic.

Mayela Cardenas, Western Colorado University

Mayela Cárdenas is an Associate Professor of Art at Western Colorado University. She teaches the Graphic Design program and just recently worked on a new Web Design minor. Aside from her teaching, she works as a freelance Graphic and Web Designer in Gunnison, Colorado. Previous clients include The Red Cross Puerto Rico Chapter and the Coca-Cola company for Puerto Rico advertisements. She is also an artist whose works have been exhibited in Puerto Rico, Oregon, Kansas, and Colorado. She obtained her MFA at the University of Oregon in Visual Design.

Stephanie Edwards, NINE dot ARTS

Stephanie Edwards is an Associate Curator at NINE dot ARTS, an award-winning art curation and advisory firm based in Denver, Colorado. Edwards specializes in public artwork and master planning at NINE dot ARTS' and also regularly acts as a visiting scholar, lecturer, and guest curator. Edwards holds an undergraduate degree in Studio Art and a Masters of Art in Art, Gallery Management, and an Exhibit Specialization.