New Engines of Growth

National Governors Association‘New Engines of Growth’ report cites Kentuckyarts and cultural initiatives

FRANKFORT, Ky. — With concerns over job creation and business growth holding a prominent position on policy agendas today, governors are increasingly finding innovative ways to support economic growth, according to the recently released report “New Engines of Growth: Five Roles for Arts, Culture, and Design.” Kentucky is cited on several occasions in the National Governors Association (NGA) report for arts marketing programs and the arts and cultural districts initiative developed by the Kentucky Arts Council. Read more…

The Arts continue to be cut from school curriculums across the nation.  Despite arts advocacy groups’ efforts to prevent the decline of arts inclusion, the budgetary solution remains to be that the arts are perceived as extra-curricular and disposable. Bill Ivey, director of the Curb Centerfor Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University said, “The arts are considered an amenity – nice to fund when you have a bit extra but hard to defend when the going gets tough.” (Robin Pogrebin, Arts Outposts Stung by Cuts in State Aid New York Times 1 August  2011: 3).  The National Endowment  has been disputing this perception by promoting the benefits of  investing in culture; for example, the $278 billion in economic activity that federal research showed was spun off by the arts in 2009. (Pogrebin, 3)

 Recently, scenarios about the USAdefaulting on its obligations if the debt ceiling was not raised caused crisis in our government; enough so, that the pressure to organize a compact was made.  Similarly, let’s consider WHAT IF… the arts were solely funded through private donations?  The impact may hardly be felt at places like the Metropolitan Opera, established regional theaters or other large organizations, but much of America’s artistic activity does not happen in major recital halls and theaters; it occurs in places like Lucas, Kansas (Pogrebin, 1).

The state of Kentuckyis to be congratulated for implementing the “New Normal.” The idea is simple — significantly leveraging arts resources to promote business and community. The arts and business connection is not a new one. What is new is states like Connecticut and Illinois’ perception about the arts, its role in branding the state, and the move to invest in this strategy in ways most are not used to. Arts leaders are grappling to adapt, especially at this high speed. It is not business as usual. With the strong emphasis on urban cities, smaller communities have questions about where do they fit in and will they be able to compete in this new environment.
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