11 Reasons to Support the Arts

July 9, 2018


Tim McClimon

Americans for the Arts has recently published a list of 10 Reasons to Support the Arts to which I’ve added an 11th taken from the same publication. I hope these resonant with you as much as they do with me.

  • Arts drive tourism and revenue to local businesses. Attendees at nonprofit arts events spend $31.47 per person, per event beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking and babysitters. 34 percent of attendees live outside the county in which the arts event takes place – they average $47.57 in event-related spending.
  • Arts strengthen the economy. Arts and cultural goods added $764 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015, and included a $21 billion international trade surplus. The nonprofit arts industry generates $166.3 billion in economic activity annually, which supports 4.6 million jobs and generates $27.5 billion in government revenue.
  • Arts improve academic performance. Students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs, standardized test scores and lower drop-out rates. 88 percent of Americans believe that arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education.
  • Arts unify communities. 67 percent of Americans believe that “the arts unify communities regardless of age, race and ethnicity,” and 62 percent agree that arts “help me understand cultures better.”
  • Arts improve individual well-being. 63 percent of the population believes the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” and 73 percent say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”
  • Arts spark creativity and innovation. Creativity is among the top 5 applied skills sought by business leaders and 72 percent saying creativity is of high importance when hiring according to a recent report by The Conference Board.
  • Arts drive the creative industries. A 2017 analysis of Dun & Bradstreet data counts 673,656 businesses involved in the creation or distribution of the arts, which is 4 percent of all businesses and 2 percent of all employees in the U.S.
  • Arts have social impact. A University of Pennsylvania study has 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.
  • Arts support the health and well-being of our military. Veterans rank creative arts therapies in the top 4 (out of 40) interventions and treatments for the mental, physical and moral injuries of war.
  • Arts improve healthcare. Nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families and staff. 78 percent deliver these programs because of their healing benefits to patients – shorter hospital stays, better pain management and less medication.

And, finally, the 11th reason (also from Americans for the Arts):

  • Arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us – fostering creativity, goodness and beauty. The arts bring us joy, help us express our values and build bridges between cultures.

American Express has a long history of supporting the arts dating back to 1876 when we assisted with the exhibition of sculpture (including the right arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty) at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. After the attacks of September 11, we became the founding sponsor of the River to River Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival, which helped bring people back to Lower Manhattan. This summer, we are backing a number of arts events including the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, the Battery Dance Festival and Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park.

 If you have a comment or question, please follow me on Twitter at @timmcclimon and start a conversation there. Thanks for reading and sharing this blog posting with friends and colleagues. 

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