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April 12, 2011 > State of the Arts

State of the Arts

By Margaret Talt

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." Picasso

Cultural arts are good for business.

Sez who?

Lots of people do. Of course, quite a few of them are artists, yet many business owners and civic leaders also realize that cultural art events require the services of local businesses, such as printers, caterers, and suppliers of various materials. When attending events, residents and visitors also like to dine out, gas their cars, even shop.

Not a believer?

"Arts & Economic Prosperity III," published by Americans for the Arts, reports national survey findings that leaders who care about community and economic development encourage the cultural arts. The survey found that whether serving the local area or out-of-town visitors, an active cultural arts community helps local businesses do well.

In Denver, the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts for twenty-four years has awarded an Impact Award to a local company for "Innovative use of the arts to propel business success."

In White Mountains, NH, the Arts Alliance of White Mountains held its fourth exhibit in March this year to promote "Business and Art in Partnership." The exhibits are designed to make White Mountains an art destination, thus drawing in tourists, who are good for local businesses.

Need more convincing? Locally, thriving cities like San Jose, Palo Alto, and San Mateo feature public art throughout their area. This is no accident. In Wichita, Salina, San Diego, Portland, New York, San Francisco, and all over the U.S., civic leaders have found that the cultural arts, such as symphonies, theatrical groups, sculptures and drawings create an atmosphere that makes for happy citizens and a prosperous business climate.

Here in the tri-city area, when local cultural art organizations stage events, they need and patronize a variety of local community businesses from printers to artist and building materials. Like ripples in a pond, the benefits of those events spread out and are felt by local business people and their employees, so yes, the cultural arts really are good for business.

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