Arts = $$$

 

We know that increased access to arts and culture improves quality of life by challenging stereotypes, increasing empathy, and opening up space for critical discussion. Gathering data and statistics that quantify the social impact of the arts can be notoriously tricky. Lucky for us, Americans for the Arts, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, recently released a data visualization tool that not only describes the role arts and culture play in shaping a community’s social values, but also how cultural and creative industries contribute to economic growth. Click on the image below to spend some time with their Arts + Social Impact Explorer tool and learn more.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the arts contribute $763.6 billion to the U.S. economy, more than agriculture and transportation. You can read more about those findings here. So why are arts, culture, and creative industries undervalued as drivers of economic growth?

In an article for Forbes, Benjamin Wolff asks the same question and provides more context by pointing out that “Five million Americans are employed in arts and culture-related industries. The sector has expanded faster than the total economy every year since 2012, and its contribution to GDP is greater than agriculture or transportation. Economic growth in arts and culture is widespread across the nation. (Louisiana was the only state to see a decrease in 2016.) And the arts have consistently run a trade surplus for the U.S., delivering more cultural goods and services abroad than the nation imports. These statistics call into question a common argument against government support for arts and culture — that they are helpful to have around but not essential drivers of economic growth.”

Click on the image below to read the full article.

Omaha is a city where a lot of value is placed on entrepreneurial approaches to creating a strong economy. How do those values translate to creative industries and what can organizations, local businesses, and city and state governments do to attract and retain talented people working in those industries? How can we collectively advocate for stronger support of creative entrepreneurship at neighborhood, city, and state levels? Let us know what you think in the comments section.