“The fact is that culture is a significant driver of the state’s economic health. The 2011 N.C. Visitor Profile, compiled by the Department of Commerce, reports that 40 percent of travelers’ time is spent on cultural activities. Within the state, cultural institutions are sources of employment for thousands.
Most fundamentally, though, the arts and culture sustain our sense of who we are individually and collectively – of where we came from as a people and our sense of possibility for what we might yet become. These are not luxuries but essential to our past, present and future.”
Benjamin Filene, director of public history and an associate professor at UNC Greensboro, shares perspective on public investment in the arts and culture. Read his 8-28-12 opinion piece at the News & Observer here:
Filene notes that the state appropriation to the Department of Cultural Resources is less than $61 million. The Arts and Economic Prosperity IV research study by Americans for the Arts found that nonprofit arts, culture and humanities organizations and their audiences returned $62,373,000 [$62.3 million] in 2010 revenues to state government alone.
Investment in culture provides more than financial return of course. Yet in tight economies it is also important to remind our stakeholders that uplifting, inspirational, educational cultural opportunities are a strong economic investment as well as an investment in our future.