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The Arts are Compelling to Leaders Because They Make Places Unique

Rocco Landesman with ArtsWave

At ArtsWave in greater Cincinnati, we’re engaging our business leaders in a conversation about the ripple effects of benefits from the arts in our community. And we find people in the private sector are particularly intrigued by the way the arts and artists make communities and neighborhoods exciting, vibrant, unique places to live and work.

Our corporate friends who are recruiting employees from all over the world tell us  that the arts in our region – our music, theatre, dance, museums, galleries, festival and more—make jobs here more appealing, and make retention easier.

This experience with business leaders is consistent with the research we completed last year, when we found that people across our region understand and value leaders who invest in the arts because of these benefits.

We learned that the following two ripple effects are especially helpful and compelling to enumerate:

  • A vibrant, thriving economy: Neighborhoods are more lively, communities are revitalized, tourists and residents are attracted to the area, etc. Note that this goes well beyond the usual dollars-and-cents argument.
  • A more connected population: Diverse groups share common experiences, hear new perspectives, understand each other better, etc.

We’ve been using these findings in our work for about a year now and we’ve had real success in changing the conversation.

For example, in late September, we invited Rocco Landesman, the Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, to visit with us. We took him on a tour of our neighborhood, where there are lots of arts organizations, and afterward Rocco described it this way:

“[It’s] a transformed place, and the arts are the catalyst, there’s no doubt about it. In fact, I was saying that [this neighborhood] is one of the prime exhibits for the NEA as we start showcasing what the arts can do. We want to point to that and shine a big spotlight on it.”

Here’s a clip of his remarks.

Rocco Landesman Visits ArtsWave from ArtsWave on Vimeo.

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