In a world where it seems jobs are harder and harder to come by, economic growth is unpredictable, wars are being fought, healthcare costs are skyrocketing, and the middle class fights for its survival - why is it so important to fund the arts?
This is a common, yet extremely complicated question. Everyone should carefully consider this question when considering anything public funding supports. All of these concerns require our attention. This is the first important thing to recognize when entering into the world of advocacy.
It is clear that there are intrinsic values to the the creation, enjoyment, and experience that the arts and making the arts provide all of us. The arts are the vehicle by which we try to make sense of the human experience. They have immense power to create common ground with strangers, facilitate meaningful shared experience, ensure our most important stories are preserved for future generations, and build a bridge between our imaginations and the knowledge we possess as human beings. We matter. Our stories matter. The arts matter.
When you think about it like that, how can anyone not want to support the arts? Perhaps if it was that simple everyone would; but economic struggle, global conflict, and jobs disappearing also matter. There is a palpable power the arts possess, but in some ways the saying “make art for art’s sake” is only part of the story we can and should be telling.
The arts are valuable for many reasons and in fact address many of the other pressing issues our world faces.
We must remember that the arts are vital economic drivers in cities across the state. A strong arts sector stimulates local economies by stimulating business activity, promoting tourism, expanding our workforce and generating significant tax revenue. Cities in Texas that promote a strong arts sector attract companies of the future, and leaders realize that a vibrant arts and culture sector attracts the best talent our nation has to offer. The arts can revitalize both urban and rural communities by both improving the quality of life and promoting stable, thriving local economic growth.
The arts also provide Texas one of its best educational assets. The world is defined by innovation and creative problem solving. The arts are the vehicle by which we acquire, develop, and expand those skills in our young people. Not only do the arts teach 21st Century skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and interpersonal communication, but they are also proven to enhance students engagement, improve attendance, and better prepare our young people to lead the way in the workforce.
The arts also thrive in collaboration with our health and wellness sectors. The arts foster physical, emotional, and mental health and the important sense of well being here in Texas. Arts therapy is proven to be an extremely cost effective and powerful means to treat our aging adult population, children, and those who have suffered trauma.
The arts impact countless areas of our lives and undoubtedly improve our quality of life; but perhaps the most important thing we can remember is that the arts offer our communities a voice. The arts are a powerful vehicle for us to have the most important conversations facing us all. They provide us with a collective voice- it is our job not only to protect that voice, but to use it!
For more information, visit http://www.arts.texas.gov/about-us/agency-overview/why-the-arts-matter/