Art and the economy explained

Experts agree that arts and culture are an important part of the economy – but the precise relationship is complicated.

As governments and organizations increasingly have to justify spending, the big question remains: does investment in the arts stimulate growth, or are the arts the product of economic development? These questions were posed in today’s edition of The Guardian in a story that continues below:imgres-1

“Few people think of the economic impact of visiting a gallery or buying a ticket to the theatre. But arts and culture in the US generated $135.2 billion (£87 billion) and supported 4.1 million jobs in 2010, according to the latest economic snapshot from the non-profit advocacy group, Americans for the Arts. It would seem that the case for continued arts funding is clear cut – enjoying the arts boosts the economy. But experts say the link between arts investment and economic output is tenuous.

“’We can’t always say our investment is directly responsible for that larger growth,’ says Sunil Iyengar, director of research for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a US government agency. ‘We believe there is that correlation to be made, but it needs to be strengthened by research.’ That’s why some of the most prestigious think tanks and agencies are coming together to analyze existing data and find new ways to measure the economic impact of the arts. Not only are they exploring the link between the arts and job creation, they’re also trying to understand how the subjective value of the arts – the “happiness factor” – may translate into economic benefits.

“’The arts give people something to do when they’re not at work, and they attract people to want to live in those communities,’ says Michael Rushton, director of the master’s programs in public affairs and arts administration at Indiana University.”


Full story at:

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