June 24, 2011

Why should states fund the arts anyway?

Tom Silva has written an excellent article for Huffington Post, The Arts Aren't in Kansas Anymore, Toto. What I like about it is all the statistics he provides regarding the arts and economic development. Here is a small excerpt, but if you have time, check out the entire article. It is a great and inspiring read!

"Why publicly support the arts when the debt's hitting its head against a $14 trillion ceiling and unemployment's at 9 percent? Well, for one thing, America's nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year, according to a 2007 study by Americans For the Arts. This includes $63.1 billion in spending by organizations (that's twice as much as aerospace) and an additional $103.1 billion in event-related spending by audiences. The national impact of this activity is significant, supporting 5.7 million jobs and generating $29.6 billion in government revenue. Overall, the for-profit and non-profit culture industry generate nearly $30 billion in revenue to local, state and federal governments every year. By comparison, the three levels of government collectively spend less than $4 billion annually to support arts and culture -- a spectacular 7:1 return on investment; try getting that in mutual funds.

"Want to get America working? The nonprofit arts and culture organizations support more jobs than there are accountants, auditors, public safety officers, even lawyers and just slightly fewer jobs than the elementary school teacher sector. Simply put, artists are workers -- real jobs that generate real value to our society.

"Then there's the whole notion of urban renewal..."

Follow Tom Silva on Twitter via The Alter Group.