In this age of fiscal restraint, one of the easiest targets for spending cuts is the arts. While our politicians do all the dirty work, voters are largely to blame because most of us don’t make too much fuss about it. Given the choice between a cultural centre or more hip replacements, it’s usually not a contest.
But economically, we’re making a mistake. There are several reasons why investing in culture is an economic imperative.
The first is that culture – including both arts and amateur sports – can mitigate the ups and downs of other industries. More diversity is healthy for any economy. Artists and athletes pay taxes, and their spending causes a multiplier effect throughout the economy. This is the argument offered by culture advocates, especially when justifying tax-dollar support.
While this is true, it’s not the strongest economic case for public financing for arts and culture. Governments could also hire people to dig holes and then fill them again. The hole diggers would also pay taxes and their spending would have the same multiplier effect. But their labour would be pointless.
A better reason why the economy needs a strong cultural scene is that it helps to attract and retain labour. This is especially important for cities trying to draw smart professionals from around the world. The best and brightest workers are global citizens, and if they (or their families) are not pleased with the cultural amenities, they won’t come. Calgary, where I live, is a perfect example: world-class fly fishing and a great rodeo will attract some people, but without fantastic arts and sports amenities, the pool of willing migrants would be shallow. Calgary’s municipal government understands this and investing in culture is non-negotiable.
The Economic Contribution of Arts and Culture – A CFCP Online Debate
All this week The Centre For Creative Practices are holding an online a discussion / debate about the economic contribution of arts and culture.
The week will include: webinars, blog posts, Twitter Feeds, group discussion and videos on how economic strategists, arts professionals, artists and arts organisations see this economic contribution. Is it sustainable? is it relevant or should we be concentrating of creativity and engagement more than economic contribution?
Get involved, use the hashtag #artseconomyire on Twitter or Facebook and lets get this discussion out there. It’s one we need to have and this is your chance to get involved.
Follow the debate online by clicking here >>
About Platform 1 from CFCP
As part of our artistic entrepreneurship programme we have introduced Platform 1, where each day we will post a snippet of information that we think might be of interest to you and to us.
Please feel free to comment, share, post your own suggestions or snippets as together we can build a repository of information that can benefit everyone on the journey.
Why Platform 1, well every journey has to start somewhere and every station has a platform 1, our departure point.
For more hints & tips see: http://cfcp.ie/platform-1/