*This is the third in a series of five writings sharing how art can unite community. It is essential to the well-being of our citizens by providing platforms of free expression and hope. These attributes are worth organizing and fighting for public art programs in Richmond and beyond. Art provides a renewed faith in humanity.
Investing in art does pay off. The City of Richmond has a wonderful opportunity to join numerous local cities by implementing a % for Art Program. This would allow for a small percentage of funds from development for public art. Critics fear that supporting the arts equates to losing business. Vice President Joe Biden would declare “that’s a bunch of malarkey” because evidence supports the opposite.
Last week, I shared numerous examples of San Francisco Bay Area cities with current % for Art Programs. Our region attracts innovation due to an environment that fosters freedom of expression. Not investing in the arts ignores potential profits. According to the Americans for the Arts: “Arts strengthen the economy. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts and culture sector is a $704 billion industry, which represents 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation and agriculture. The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $135 billion in economic activity annually (spending by organizations and their audiences) that supports 4.1 million jobs and generates $22.3 billion in government revenue.”
Like making extra money for your community? Then support a % for Art Program. Businesses and developers already know how art increases profits while partnering with local communities.
In a 2013 BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts, four reasons were picked by business as very important in supporting the arts:
54% the arts improve the quality of life in the community
49% the arts help create a vibrant community and society
47% art organizations offer education initiatives that benefit the community
47% the arts improve academic performance for students
Take a look:
As a proud Richmond resident, I truly want to see my city live up to its potential with a % for Arts Program. From a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts report: “Arts and cultural spending has a ripple effect on the overall economy, boosting both commodities and jobs. For example, for every 100 jobs created from new demand for the arts, 62 additional jobs are also created.”
Art is a bridge that unites business and community. It increases profitability through respect. % for Arts Programs connect instead of divide. Making money for everyone is good but it is just so much more. Wait till next week. You’ll see…