The Ten Best Reasons to Support the Arts

Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2015

Posted by Randy Cohen, Mar 13, 2015

With the arts advocacy season fully upon us, the following is my updated “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” Changes this year include updating #3 with the BEA’s new Arts in the GDP research, #8 to include a statement about the benefits of the arts in the military, and #10 includes the new Creative Industries data (now current as of January 2015).

This is just one of many arrows to include in your arts advocacy quiver. While it’s a helpful one, we know there are many more reasons to support the arts. What are yours? Please share your #11 (and more!) in the comments section below. What a great collection we can build together.

Please feel to share and post this as you like. You can download a handy 1-pager here.

CTA-support-the-arts110 Reasons to Support the Arts

1. Arts promote 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. Arts improve academic performance. Students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, and lower drop-out rates—benefits reaped by students regardless of socio-economic status. Students with 4 years of arts or music in high school average 100 points higher on the verbal and math portions of their SATs than students with just one-half year of arts or music.

3. Arts strengthen the economy. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts and culture sector is a $699 billion industry, which represents 4.3 percent of the nation’s GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation and agriculture. The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $135 billion in economic activity annually (spending by organizations and their audiences) that supports 4.1 million jobs and generates $22.3 billion in government revenue.

4. Arts are good for local merchants. Attendees at nonprofit arts events spend $24.60 per person, per event, beyond 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 drive tourism. Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that the percentage of international travelers including museum visits on their trip has grown steadily since 2003 (18 to 28 percent). The share attending concerts and theater performances has grown from 14 to 18 percent since 2003.

6. Arts are an export industry. U.S. exports of arts goods (e.g., movies, paintings, jewelry) grew to $75 billion in 2012, while imports were just $27 billion—a $47 billion arts trade surplus.

7. Arts spark creativity and innovation. The Conference Board reports that 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” Nobel laureates in the sciences are 17 times more likely to be actively engaged in the arts than average scientists.

8. Arts have social impact. 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 crime and poverty rates. The arts are used by the U.S. Military to promote troop force and family readiness, resilience, retention and for the successful reintegration of veterans into family and community life.

9. Arts improve healthcare. Nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming 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.

10. Arts mean business. The Creative Industries are arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and design companies. A 2015 analysis of Dun & Bradstreet data counts 702,771 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 2.9 million people—representing 3.9 percent of all businesses and 1.9 percent of all employees.

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“They get it, they get each other” – Why Youth Theatre Is Important

Why Youth Theatre Is Important

By: Kerry Hishon

I’ve read lots of articles on the topic of youth theatre and its importance, but a lot of them tend to be really wordy and quite highfalutin’, with lots of fancy theories and big words. This article talks about the importance of children’s theatre, but that’s a different topic altogether — children’s theatre tends to lean towards adults performing FOR children, versus theatre performed BY youth.

I think that an arts education is extremely important and beneficial for young people… and, in simple terms, here are just a few of the reasons why.

It’s a creative outlet — and a challenging one at that.

Kids need a way to be able to express themselves and their thoughts and views on the world. What better way than through theatre? It challenges them to open their minds, explore different worlds through scripts and scores and characters, and to be able to tell a story in a variety of ways — through words, song, mime, tableau, puppetry… the list goes on and on.

They’re learning a huge host of skills.

Very few kids who participate in youth theatre (community, school or otherwise) go on to become professional actors. It’s a ridiculously hard industry to break into. But there are so many other important skills that they’re learning that can be used in their everyday lives, no matter what profession they decide to pursue in the future, such as…

  • Reading and reciting from scripts, which increases their verbal and literacy skills.
  • Working with a director/musical director/choreographer, which increases their listening skills.
  • Many theatre companies offer volunteer opportunities, such as being a stage manager, technical operator, or usher, which gives actual job skills training that can be used towards careers behind the scenes or in the business side of theatre.
  • When they’re practicing for an audition, they’re learning research and preparation skills, and learning how to take steps into achieving a goal.
    When they perform in front of their peers or an audience, they’re learning self-confidence and bravery.
  • When they get cast in a plum role, they’re learning how to accept their achievements with grace.
  • When they don’t get the part they want (or get cast in the show at all), they’re learning to deal with disappointment.
  • When they’re practicing their lines and rehearsing their choreography at home, they’re learning about the importance of giving your best effort and not letting down your teammates.
  • When they’re learning dances and stage combat, they’re practicing hand/eye coordination.
  • When they’re cast in a show with kids they don’t know or don’t like, they’re learning how to deal with others.
  • When they realize that they have a project due in class the day before off-book day, they’re learning about time management.
  • When something goes wrong onstage (which it inevitably does in the theatre!), they’re learning how to deal with the unexpected, how to stay cool in an emergency, how to roll with the punches and keep the show going on!

Friendship.

Being in a cast together creates incredibly strong bonds over a very short period of time. When you’re working together with a group of like-minded people to create a cohesive piece of work, it’s kind of inevitable. Theatre people don’t always fit in with people outside of the theatre. We’re thought of as eccentric, dramatic, odd, spacey, airy-fairy. Some people don’t understand the long hours spent at the theatre (“I can’t, I have rehearsal” is a common phrase uttered by theatre people) and the many hours of work required outside of rehearsal. But a big group of kids all obsessed with the latest Broadway offering who randomly breaks into song and dance in the middle of the sidewalk? They get it, and they get each other. Insta-friends.

I’m so proud to have met and worked with so many extraordinary young people at Original Kids Theatre Company. I have seen kids grow from shy “itty-bitties” into confident, capable young men and women, who are going to go on to do great things. So what are you waiting for? Join a theatre company today.

Why is youth theatre important to you?
Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!