Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stimulate the Economy! Yes, the Arts DO That!

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, designed for
Kansas City by Moshe Safdie, is part of our vibrant
nonprofit arts scene. 
Two hundred seventy-three million dollars.

Eight thousand, three hundred and forty-six full-time jobs.

Nine million dollars of revenue to local governments.

Even to the One Percent, that isn't exactly chump change (though the Kansas-based Koch Brothers have spent far more this year on their political agenda).

To the rest of us, those numbers look dowright impressive.

According to an article published in today's Kansas City Star, a pair of studies by Americans for the Arts has calculated that my home town benefited to the tune of those impressive numbers in 2010, thanks to the economic engine that is the nonprofit arts community in our town. 

The Arts and Economic Prosperity IV Report seeks to measure the "quantifiable economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences." The Local Arts Index is new this year, and was designed "as a tool to better understand the characteristics of the cultural life of individual communities." 

Some other towns realized even more benefit, some less. But these reports tell--yet again--a story that should be clear to anyone who's been paying attention: far from being a "frill," the arts are economically important. 

Artists are often urban pioneers, spearheading renewal in run-down neighborhoods--just as they have done in the Kansas City Crossroads, and are attempting to do in our West Bottoms and on Troost Avenue. Arts and culture are an important factor in determining a city's "livability." They foster and enhance an environment where innovation, renewal, and growth builds a more vibrant tomorrow.

Yet still it's hard to get many people to see this value. Perhaps reports like the ones reported on today will begin to open a few more eyes.

PHOTO CREDITS: The beautiful image of the Kauffman Center is from a photo gallery of images posted on the Inhabitat website (I highly recommend you go look at them, and get to know the Inhabitat site; they have many wonderful things!).  I took the Crossroads photo, myself.

1 comment:

  1. For an interesting follow-up on this post, see: