With arts funding facing threats at the national, state and local level, the time is now for arts advocates and supporters to be equipped with tangible reasons to support the arts based on research about the positive impact the arts have on the economy, academic performance and quality of life.
Earlier this year, Americans for the Arts released the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, highlighting the economic impact of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion of economic activity and $27.54 billion in total government revenue in 2015. Additionally, the arts support 4.6 million jobs around the country. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the arts industry is 4.2 percent of GDP, representing a larger share of the nation’s economy than construction, transportation, mining, or travel and tourism. Ultimately, the arts strengthen the economy.
Another way in which the arts are fundamental to our country is the significant, positive effect they have on academic performance. Americans for the Arts conducted public research about the value of the arts and discovered that 88 percent of Americans believe the arts are part of a well-rounded education in kindergarten and through high school. Moreover, creative skills are highly valued in the workplace as the Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate report indicates. Overall, the arts encourage learning and achievement while preparing students to succeed in school, work and life.
Lastly, the arts help to create places where people want to be. The majority of Americans believe the arts improve individual well-being and unify communities. For example, I work for a local arts council, and my organization has a public art initiative to help engage the community and make our community a more enjoyable place to live. For our nation and communities to thrive, the arts need to flourish.
There are a number of ways you can take action to support the arts in our nation, including:
Writing your state and local elected officials through VoterVoice
Joining the Arts Action Fund
Spreading the word within your community about the value of the arts using Americans for the Arts’ tools and research
Let’s get out there and advocate for the arts in America!