Arts & culture’s impact is significant

And to the naysayers who think arts and culture is a waste of time and money in our communities I say, read the latest findings in a 2010 study by the  non-profit organization Americans for the Arts and you might change your tune.

Numbers don’t lie, and these are some major figures clearly showing the significance and positive impact of the arts in our society. The press release issued by Americans for the Arts states:

“The nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $135.2 billion dollars of economic activity — $61.1 billion in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations, plus an additional $74.1 billion in spending by their audiences. This economic activity had a significant impact on the nation’s economy, supporting $4.1 million full-time equivalent jobs, and generating $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state and federal governments — a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts appropriations.”

Important to note as well the year the study was conducted. Not exactly our shining hour as a global economic powerhouse and yet, the arts thrived and helped our cities and communities stay alive and survive.

I’ve always felt the arts are an integral part of educating our youth and helping make them well-rounded individuals. The arts teach us about history, human interaction, periods and movements, shifting times but most of all, about evolving from one phase to the next.  They inspire greatness and expose us to history in the making.

I saw the great Mikhail Baryshnikov perform with his modern dance troupe and it was as memorable as someone who watched him leap through the air during his prime ballet days. It was thrilling to hear contemporary artist Frank Stella speak in my hometown and watch legendary dance master Merce Cunningham attend his troupe’s performance as one of his last public appearances before his passing.

Aside from positively affecting the economy,  attending cultural events creates memories and lasting impressions all while writing a new chapter in the history books. That’s why I support the arts and will continue to do so, it’s in my soul and I want to pass that passion on to everyone I encounter.

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