Arts and culture are important to national economies. Arts and culture-related industries, also known as “creative industries,” provide direct economic benefits to countries and communities. They create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies through tourism and consumer purchases.
These industries also provide an array of other benefits, such as infusing other industries with creative insight for their products and services and preparing workers to participate in the contemporary workforce. In addition, because they enhance quality of life, the arts and culture are an important complement to community development, enriching local amenities and attracting young professionals to an area.
Governments increasingly recognize the importance of the creative sector to their states’ economy and ability to compete in the global marketplace. A number of factors underscore the connection between economic competitiveness and creativity. For example, in the current global economy, creative and new media industries are growing in number and playing increasingly prominent economic and social roles. Companies’ decisions about where to locate their businesses often are influenced by factors such as the ready availability of a creative workforce and the quality of life available to employees.
Arts and culture can play a major role in community development and redevelopment by creating new jobs as well as fostering an environment and amenities that attract talented young workers. Tourism centered on arts and culture can contribute to national economic growth by providing a diversified and sustainable means for creating jobs and attracting revenue.
In this environment, a country’s arts and cultural resources can be economic assets. The arts and cultural industries provide jobs, attract investments, and stimulate local economies through tourism, consumer purchases, and tax revenue. Perhaps more significantly, they also prepare workers to participate in the contemporary workforce, create communities with high appeal to residents, businesses, and tourists, and contribute to the economic success of other sectors.
Countries define their creative economies in a variety of ways, depending on the composition and character of businesses, nonprofits, individuals, and venues that exist in any given areas. The creative economy may include human, organizational, and physical assets. It also includes many types of cultural institutions, artistic disciplines, and business pursuits.
Industries that comprise the arts and culture sector may include advertising, architecture, the art and antiques market, crafts, design, fashion, film, digital media, television, radio, music, software and computer games, the performing arts, publishing, graphic arts, and cultural tourism.
From the work of nonprofit arts agencies to the impact of cultural tourism, it is clear that the creative sector is important to state economies all across the country. The creative industry in Arkansas, the United States for example, employs nearly 27,000 individuals and generates $927 million in personal income for Arkansas citizens in 2020. Creative enterprises are the state’s third largest employer after transport and logistics and perishable and processed foods.
In the state of North Carolina, the wages and income of workers employed by creative industries infused $3.9 billion into the state’s economy in 2020. And in Massachusetts state, the 17.6 percent yearly growth of the cultural sector contributed $4.23 billion to the state’s economy.
To help their countries realize the full potential and economic benefits of the arts and culture sector, governments must identify the pivotal creative industries or clusters in the state. Then, they can adopt strategies that support and strengthen these industries. These include offering incentives targeted at the arts and culture sectors as well as development initiatives, entrepreneurial training, marketing programs, or public-private collaborations to encourage growth and invest in specific creative clusters.
In the United States state of Michigan, for example, has enacted a comprehensive incentive program, which includes tax credits, designed to entice film projects to locate in the state. The state of Kentucky offers a “Craft Marketing Program” that provides business and product development services to participating artists and helps market their work both inside and outside the state.
In addition, some states are encouraging collaborations between artists, designers, and product engineers in a variety of manufacturing and high-tech industries. In California, for example, the University of California Santa Cruz has partnered with local industry and the city of Santa Cruz to establish the “Santa Cruz Design Innovation Center”. The center’s goal is to leverage local design talent to grow design-based business and attract new businesses to the area. Such collaborations stimulate new thinking, encourage new product development, and make the most of a state’s collective creative and business resources.
The creative industries offer numerous benefits to national economies, and countries have an opportunity to both improve livability and boost national economies by investing in the arts and culture.