The following is from Americans for the Arts. It comes at a great time. BLT is gearing up for its 2012-13 season. Right now BLT is working on 4 plays and the Bill and Peggy Playwritghts festival. BLT is busy. But BLT has no source of income, except donations, until ticket sales begin. BLT could use your help. Please, send a donation today and get your name on our donor list early. (BLT, P.O. Box 48121, Burien, Wa. 98148)
10 Reasons to Support the Arts
1. True prosperity . . . The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us – fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age. When times are tough, art is salve for the ache.
2. Improved academic performance . . . Students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, lower drop-out rates, and even better attitudes about community service – benefits reaped by students regardless of socio-economic status. Students with four years of arts or music in high school average 100 points better on their SAT scores than students with one-half year or less.
3. Arts are an Industry . . . Arts organizations are responsible businesses, employers, and consumers. Nonprofit arts organizations generate $135 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 4.1 million jobs and generating $22.3 billion in government revenue. Investment in the arts supports jobs, generates tax revenues, promotes tourism, and advances our creativity-based economy.
4. Arts are good for local merchants. . . The typical arts attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, not including the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters. Attendees who live outside the county in which the arts event takes place spend twice as much as their local counterparts ($39.96 vs. $17.42) – valuable revenue for local businesses and the community.
5. Arts are the corner stone of tourism . . . Arts travelers are ideal tourists␣they stay longer and spend more. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that the percentage of international travelers including museum visits on their trip has grown annually since 2003 (17 to 24 percent), while the share attending concerts and theater performances increased five of the past seven years (13 to 17 percent since 2003).
6. Arts are an export industry . . . U.S. exports of arts goods (e.g., movies, paintings, jewelry) grew to $64 billion in 2010, while imports were just $23 billion – $41 billion arts trade surplus in 2010.
7. Building the 21st Century workforce . . . Reports by the Conference Board show creativity is among the top 5 applied skills sought by business leaders␣with 72 percent saying creativity is of high importance when hiring. The biggest creativity indicator? A college arts degree. Their Ready to Innovate report concludes, “. . . the arts – music, creative writing, drawing, dance provide skills sought by employers of the 3rd millennium.
8. Healthcare . . . Nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programing for patients, families, and even staff. 78 percent deliver these programs because of their healing benefits to patients- shorter hospital stays, better pain management, and less medication.
9. Stronger communities. . . University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates. A vibrant arts community ensures that young people are not left to be raised solely in a pop culture and tabloid marketplace.
10. Creative Industries . . . The Creative Industries are arts businesses that range from non-profit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and design companies. An analysis of Dun & Bradstreet data counts 905,689 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 3.35 million people representing 4.42 percent of all businesses and 2.15 percent of all employees, respectively.
A PDF version of this article is available for download.