Friday, May 25, 2007

The Economic Impact of the Arts

In a study released on May 22nd, Americans for the Arts made a case for the economic contribution of the non-profit arts and culture industry. This is important as many of the arguments for maintaining art and music programs in schools have been philosophical, not financial. The concept of "quality of life," while a noble thought, does not seem to resonate with a large segment of the American populace and many members of the government. If it did, global warming would be less of a battle, we'd be focused on the health and well-being of the children who are living as a priority over those unborn, and health care and poverty would be top priorities of any administration.

So, now we must speak in "important" terms.

• 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs
• $104.2 billion in resident household income
• $7.9 billion in local government tax revenues
• $9.1 billion in state government tax revenues
• $12.6 billion in federal government tax revenues

The study can be found here. While quality of life is important to me, we best start translating our needs into economic terms for those who see the world spinning on a dollar.

Maybe someone should send it to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution which has already killed the staff book reviews and supposedly has plans to kill the staff positions for arts and music reviews. Read Robert Spano's letter at the website for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and sign the petition.


Matthew Cornell said...

I think our national priorities stink, and the loss of funding for the arts is a great example. What good is civilization if we can't have higher-level pursuits about beauty and meaning? Plus, even basics such as education are suffering. Ugh!

Rebecca said...

Hi Matt,

As I see it, music (and the arts at large) WERE/ARE a basic part of every great civilization and should be fundamental components of education...right up there with the "Three Rs."

I'm trying to figure out a way to apply GTD to my own practicing, by the way. ;-)


Mostly Musicology, Teaching, and a bit of Miscellanea