If you care about the arts . . .

Next week is the time to make your representatives and senators in Congress, your state legislators, and your local officials aware that you support the arts. If you’re like me and can’t make it to Washington, DC on a Monday and Tuesday, consider doing what I intend to do that day: contact all of my elected representatives and tell them that policies and budgets that support the arts are good for America. Here’s why, from a statement released by Americans for the Arts:

  1. Arts strengthen the economy. The arts and culture sector is a $730 billion industry, which represents 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation, tourism, and agriculture. The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $135 billion in economic activity annually (spending by organizations and their audiences), which supports 4.1 million jobs and generates $22.3 billion in government revenue.

  2. Arts are good for local businesses. Attendees at nonprofit arts events spend $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters—valuable revenue for local commerce and the community.

  3. Arts are an export industry. The arts and culture industries posted a $30 billion international trade surplus in 2014, according to the BEA. U.S. exports of arts goods (e.g., movies, paintings, jewelry) exceeded $60 billion.

  4. Arts drive tourism. Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences. Arts destinations grow the economy by attracting foreign visitor spending. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that, between 2003-2015, the percentage of international travelers including “art gallery and museum visits” on their trip grew from 17 to 29 percent, and the share attending “concerts, plays, and musicals” increased from 13 to 16 percent.

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