Monday, August 7, 2017
Mike McInally, editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald, is a believer in art for the sake of art.
“Longtime readers of this column know that, in the past, I've had issues with the notion that you have to justify the arts on economic grounds,” McInallly wrote in a June 25 editorial. “But I'm coming around on the economic-vitality argument: If you can present evidence that the arts help build a vibrant economy, that they help to support jobs, all the better.”
McInally’s column was prompted by the release of Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5), a study of the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations. The study, spearheaded by Americans for the Arts, compiled data from 341 communities and regions across the country. Americans for the Arts partnered with the Oregon Arts Commission to collect Oregon’s statewide data, and with local and regional arts organizations to examine eleven study regions within the state.
McInally noted that AEP5 was the first study to look at Oregon’s art scene outside of the major metropolitan areas of Portland and Eugene.
“The study offers even more evidence that the arts have an impact well beyond the state's metropolitan areas,” he wrote. “It turns out that the arts are improving the quality of life — and the economies — of the state's rural areas as well. As we consider cutbacks to arts programs that serve those rural areas, we need to keep that in mind.”