10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2022

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Mar 21, 2022

The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, empathy, and beauty. The arts also strengthen our communities socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even during a pandemic that has been devastating to the arts. The following 10 reasons show why an investment in artists, creative workers, and arts organizations is vital to the nation’s post-pandemic healing and recovery. The arts are a proven contributor in keeping us mentally healthy—reducing depression and anxiety and increasing life satisfaction. Just 30 minutes of arts activities daily can combat the ill effects of isolation and loneliness associated with COVID-19—and 78% of hospital CEOs say the purpose of their arts programs is to aid in the emotional and mental healing of patients Those data points nail it. The arts are all about stories—often personal, always meaningful. This advocacy season, find your stories and pair them with the research-based findings in “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.”

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Sparking Economic Recovery Through the Arts

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Mar 03, 2021

When Pericles convinced his fellow Athenians to build the Parthenon in 447 BC, he shared a vision that would reflect the magnificence of Athens and be a monument to democracy. He also knew it would be a post-war economic driver that would put thousands of citizens to work and attract visitors who would travel to see the architectural marvel. 2,500 years later, Pericles’s prescient understanding of the value of the arts to inspire, define a sense of place, and strengthen the economy remains evident. As government leaders work to position their cities and states for a post-pandemic recovery, new research shows why they too should look to the arts as an essential tool in their economic recovery arsenal. The arts are economic catalysts. They do not just reflect the state and local economy, but actually accelerate economic recovery. A growth in arts employment has a positive and causal effect on overall state employment.

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By Every Measure, COVID-19 Continues Its Devastation of the Arts

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Dec 01, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, so does its devastation of the nation’s arts sector. Since the first U.S. case was reported in January 2020, cancellations have taken place at virtually every arts organization across the country, artists are among the most severely affected segment of the nation’s workforce, and 1 in 10 nonprofit arts organizations doubt their ability to survive the pandemic. It has been unquestionably brutal for the arts. When we get to the other side of the pandemic, however, I believe the arts will be among our greatest assets in helping the nation to recover. The arts are kindling for the economy—small investments that deliver big returns. The arts also provide shared and meaningful experiences in public spaces—a community connection that heals the loneliness caused by isolation and social distancing. The arts are on the right side of what needs to be done to rebuild and heal our country. We must continue to invest in our artists and fund our arts organizations to capture these benefits.

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The Rebuilding Power of The Arts in Rural Communities

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Sep 29, 2020

Not only are the arts big business, but they are a proven rural economic development tool. Research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that in rural counties, the number of innovation companies—those that use design services or trademark and copyright-protected branding—rises proportionately to the presence of local performing arts organizations. As few as four performing arts organizations in a rural county significantly increase rural innovation businesses scores. Two-thirds of rural business leaders report that arts and entertainment are vital to attracting and retaining workers, providing the talent that businesses need to thrive. Residents of these arts-rich rural communities earn higher incomes (up to $6,000 higher) than residents of rural counties that lack performing arts institutions. As leaders position their states for a post-pandemic recovery, new research shows why the arts should be looked to as an essential tool in both economic recovery and reconnecting all communities.

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10 Reasons to Invest in Your Local Arts Agency During a Crisis

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, May 26, 2020

Cities are in trouble. A new report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities—The Economy and Cities: What America’s Local Leaders are Seeing—shows that effectively every city, county, and town in America is expecting a budget shortfall this year. “[The] coronavirus will have a staggering impact on municipal employment,” notes the report, with about half expecting layoffs or furloughs. Depending on population size, 50% to 75% of municipalities will cut public services—and more than half expect that to include police. With cities facing their most severe budget headwinds in generations, every sector of government can expect to be scrutinized to gauge impact on the community, including the nation’s 4,500 local arts agencies (LAAs)—arts councils, arts commissions, cultural affairs departments that lead, cultivate, and support an environment in which arts and culture can thrive. They ensure vibrant and accessible arts experiences for all. LAAs are an essential tool for local leaders as they work to rebuild their economy and promote social cohesion in the wake of COVID-19. Here are 10 reasons why investing in LAAs benefits everyone.

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It’s the Arts. Troubling News Yet Still Room for Optimism

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Apr 14, 2020

The coronavirus is having a devastating impact on America’s arts sector. Since the first U.S. case was diagnosed, cancellations and closings have been reported at thousands of arts organizations across the country, artists are posting high unemployment rates, and organizations are furloughing staff. Clearly this is a distressing time for the country with more uncertainty ahead. When the crisis does end, however, the arts should be looked to as an essential tool in both economic recovery and reconnecting our communities. Getting people out of their houses and spending money again will be key to jump-starting the economy (70% of the U.S. economy is consumer spending). The arts also will create opportunities to heal the isolation caused by social distancing and unify our communities. The coronavirus toll is heavy, but the arts can be our great asset in recovering from the crisis socially and economically. This is why doing everything in our power to bolster the arts now will make our nation stronger later.

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