John W. Bateman
Poets may not make a lot of money. But they make YOU money.
If that sounds absurd, keep reading and prove me wrong.
Most people can agree with the idea that, if people have something to do, they are more willing to visit (or stay in) a specific place. If we bring and keep people in a town, they will spend money. An arts community helps build a sense of place that drives attraction. It drives a social life. That, in turn, will bring people more predictably than a baseball-field-in-a-cornfield dream.
Art isn’t “just a hobby.” It’s a drive to create.
An arts community isn't just having a movie theatre: it’s having a community where movies are made.
Does that get your attention?
Let’s connect the arts with a business impact. Here are some very real numbers:
Do you know what these are?
Those Cotton District Arts Festival numbers? That reflects one day of art sales. Importantly, they do NOT include amounts (or tax revenue) from hotels, restaurants, and other shopping in Starkville on that same weekend.
Let’s look at a “lottery ticket” example: the NYC Highline that extends from the Meatpacking District to 34th Street. This abandoned, elevated rail, now park and public art space, was hotly contested. It was an eyesore that many wanted torn down. Yet, advocates fought to keep it as a public park with public art located along the route.
The impact? If you were lucky enough to own real estate along some sections, you could have seen a 50% increase in value in your property in one year. One of the first estimates for the future tax revenue and economic impact to NYC over 20 years was $250 million. That prediction was increased to $900 million. Almost $1 billion in economic impact from something many people hated and wanted torn down. It’s now a major destination point. It gives a sense of place and brings people into the area.
THAT is how art means business. That is how poets (sculptors, painters, musicians, performers, etc.) make you money: they give a sense of place that drives attraction. They create something for a community to share and enjoy. They bring and keep people together who directly contribute to the economy of that place. Give people something to do, and they stay. When people stay, they spend money.
Art means business. It's not as indirect as one might think.
Why is this relevant? SAAC’s mission is to build a strong, creative, connected community through the arts. There are many opportunities, whether ongoing current programs or projects in the works, where SAAC is striving to build a community through arts of all types.
Let’s use art to build a community that creates a sense of place... to bring people... to bring business.
Help us build it, for you.
To learn about ways you can help SAAC, contact us.
John W. Bateman
How great is art, if no one ever sees it?
Art doesn’t always belong in a museum, above a couch (or “divan,” as my grandmother called it), or behind closed doors. It’s why cities often drop sculptures in parks. Plaza entrances to skyscrapers or subway stations may show off instagram-worthy moments for you and your best friends on holiday.
Ever see a blank wall and wish it had a mural? You aren’t alone. A lot of communities invest in public art. Why? It’s free and accessible to everyone: no dress code required. Consider how public art can create community: from the buffalo statues in, well, Buffalo, and the Cow Parade in any of these cities to Cloud Gate in Chicago. Displayed, snapchatted, hashtagged, and posted: public art is often a way people show they’ve been there. Joined the community. Taken part in something. They arguably contribute to a sense of place.
It’s not just limited to a concept of home turf. It’s also been argued that public art can revitalize communities, as this excerpt outlines, by promoting public interaction, increasing civic participation, and engaging youth.
All of these arguments sound great on paper, and probably make sense in a selfie culture where good photo ops are quickly posted on Facebook and Instagram. But what really matters, perhaps, is showing how strong public art can be.
For example, take a look at these murals in Asheville.
Or this 125-foot-tall mural in Philly.
Have you seen any of these in Atlanta?
Even Vicksburg took a flood wall and turned it into an art project. Columbus and West Point have murals... What could we do?
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