Topic: Creative Economies
The discussion on creative economies has taken on a high profile in the U.S. and around the globe. Best-selling books such as Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class (2002) and meetings such as the Memphis Manifesto (2003) highlight the need for creativity as an asset in the economy. Cities and regions in the United States face challenges in attracting and retaining highly-skilled workers, the development of creative industries, as well as the expansion of markets for creative products and services.
- 69 percent of local arts agencies (LAAs) report addressing economic development issues through their community development programs. More than half of the agencies (63%) partner with other agencies to develop cultural tourism programs. Thirty-six percent of LAAs have a cultural district in their community.¹
- America's nonprofit arts industry generated $134 billion in economic activity every year, including $24.4 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues. The $134 billion total includes $53.2 billion in spending by arts organizations and $80.8 billion in event-related spending by arts audiences.²
- Of the 12.8 million active U.S. businesses tracked by Dunn & Bradstreet in 2005, more than 578,000 businesses are involved in the production or distribution of the arts (4.3 percent of all businesses) and they employ 2.97 million people (2.2 percent of all employees).³
- Craft sales in 2000 had an impact between $12.3 billion to $13.8 billion generated by 126,000 craftspeople.*
Cites and towns attract and retain a highly-skilled workforce through the establishment of creative scenes and the lure of abundant cultural products, services, and venues. For example, Michigan’s Cool Cities initiative provides grants and programming to help designated cities foster creative economies.
Creative economies require the presence of creative industries—nonprofit and for-profit arts-based businesses—that attract tourists to explore local culture and support the local economy. For example, Beyond the Alamo® helps visitors, conventioneers and citizens find the information they need discover the San Antonio’s culturally vibrant neighborhoods.
These industries also contribute to economic growth by creating exportable cultural products. For example, Showcase West Virginia serves 300 artists and small manufacturers by operating a retail store and web outlet that features local handmade products.
¹ Local Arts Agency Facts: Fiscal Year 2003. Americans for the Arts, 2005.
² Arts & Economic Prosperity Report. Americans for the Arts, 2002.
³ The Creative Industries Report. Americans for the Arts, 2005.
* Craft Industry Economic Impact Survey. Craft Organization Development Association, 2001