The non-profit arts industry, with $36.8 billion in annual revenue, is a potent force in economic development nationwide States and communities have integrated the arts into their economic development arsenal to achieve a wide range of direct and indirect economic goals. Arts programs have served as components of high-impact economic development programs by assisting state and local government in:

 

  • Leveraging human capital and cultural resources to generate economic vitality in under-performing regions through tourism, crafts, and cultural attractions;
  • Restoring and revitalizing communities by serving as a centerpiece for downtown redevelopment and cultural renewal;
  • Creating vibrant public spaces integrated with natural amenities, resulting in improved urban quality of life, expanded business and tax revenue base, and positive regional and community image; and
  • Contributing to a region's "innovation habitat" by simultaneously improving regional quality of life -- making communities more attractive to highly desirable, knowledge-based employees -- and permitting new forms of knowledge-intensive production to flourish.

Governors can position their states to use the arts effectively by promoting new partnerships among state agencies, communities, and the business sector and by harnessing the power of the arts and culture as tools that unite communities, create economic opportunity, and improve the quality of life.