10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2023 with Local Arts Organization Spotlights

Date of News Item

Follow along on our social media platforms as we post our 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2023 in collaboration with local arts agencies telling their stories. These amazing local arts advancement organizations prove why supporting the arts supports and uplifts our thriving local communities! Thank you to Randy Cohen, VP of Research at Americans for the Arts, for writing and researching the 10 Reasons data.

Post YOUR stories along with us by using our 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2023 social media toolkit and the hashtag #SupportArts


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Click on each reason to see the accompanying data and stories!

Reason 1 2023 | Arts Unify Communities    Reason 2 2023 | Arts improve individual well-being    Reason 3 2023 | Arts strengthen the economy    Reason 4 2023 | Arts drive tourism & revenue to local Businesses     Reason 5 2023 | Arts Improve Academic Performance

Reason 6 2023 | Arts spark creativity & innovation      Reason 7 2023 | Arts have social impact      Reason 8 2023 | Arts improve healthcare      Reason 9 2023 | Arts for the health and well-being of our military      Reason 10 2023 | Arts Strengthen Mental health




Reason 1 | Arts Unify Communities.

72% of Americans believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity” and 73% agree that the arts “helps me understand other cultures better”—a perspective observed across all demographic and economic categories. 


Creative Greensboro - Greensboro, North Carolina

Neighborhood Arts Programs support artists and neighborhood residents as co-leaders. The program brings creativity close to home through arts activities and beautification projects that respond to neighborhood priorities. Creative Greensboro provides support for, ensures access to, and drives awareness of Greensboro’s creative community. Through a range of programs, services, and partnerships, they support the development of a vibrant city. Learn more here: www.CreativeGreensboro.com 

Video Description: Woman standing outdoors,  photos of artists painting a basketball court mural and a wide shot of the full basketball court mural with colors blue, red, yellow and white. Man standing in front of a digital kiosk with image of artwork showing in kiosk. Woman talking and photo of large artwork that has a green background and images of people floating.



Reason 2 | Arts improve individual well-being.

81% of the population says the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world,” 69% of the population believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” and 73% feel the arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in.” 


Creative Portland - Portland, Maine

Creative Portland, in partnership with the Greater Portland Metro and the Greater Portland COG, has initiated a Creative Bus Shelter program made possible by a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) "Our Town" grant award. Four artists were selected for Phase I of the project to install their vision using the canvas of the bus shelter for public art. In May 2021, Creative Portland received a second award from the NEA to continue and expand the project. The project strengthens communities by engaging local artists and arts administrators, in partnership with transit providers, and in collaboration with the City of Portland‘s Office of Economic Opportunity and the Welcome Immigrant https://www.welcomeimmigrant.org/, for positive social impact and systems change. The goals are to encourage multi-modal transportation, increase ridership, and to promote awareness and social acceptance through art installations that utilize bus shelters as the canvas for public art on the theme of celebrating diversity and inclusion. Check out more here, https://www.creativeportland.com/creative-bus-shelters 



Reason 3 | Arts strengthen the economy.

The nation’s arts and culture sector—nonprofit, commercial, education—is a $1.02 trillion industry that supports 4.9 million jobs (2021). That is 4.4% of the nation’s economy—a larger share of GDP than powerhouse sectors such as transportation, construction, and agriculture. Similar results are found at the state level. The arts also posted a $17.8 billion international trade surplus. The arts accelerate economic recovery: a growth in arts employment has a positive and causal effect on overall employment. 


Dubuque Iowa Department of Economic Development Arts and Culture Office

Iowa’s first city is home to dozens of arts and cultural organizations. By any estimate, the sheer volume and diversity of arts and cultural activity in Dubuque is remarkable. Culturally and creatively vibrant cities tend to are more economically prosperous. A study conducted in association with Americans for the Arts revealed that Dubuque’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $47.2 million in annual revenue—a number increased by our city’s robust network of creative businesses, live music, and entertainment venues. The city’s 10-year Arts & Culture Master Plan provides a roadmap for enhancing the cultural and economic vitality of our community through strong public-private partnerships and community leadership. Learn more here: https://www.cityofdubuque.org/2269/Arts-Culture-Master-Plan 

The Enactment Roadmap  illustrates this division of labor that allows for multiple parts of the plan to be simultaneously advanced. The roadmap outlines the method the city will draw on to enact the priorities of the Master Plan and to engage stakeholders in the process, creating an ecosystem where all elements are collaborative and interdependent.



Reason 4 | Arts drive tourism and revenue to local businesses.

The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $166.3 billion in economic activity annually—spending by arts organizations and their audiences—which supports 4.6 million jobs and generates $27.5 billion in government revenue. Arts attendees spend $31.47 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and lodging—vital income for local businesses. Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic culture experiences (2017). 


Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region - Colorado Spring, Colorado

The Creative Stays program is an ongoing digital campaign to attract cultural tourists to Colorado Springs and the surrounding community. The inspiration for the program came directly from Arts Vision 2030, the recently released 10-year cultural plan for our region. Creative Stays will eventually feature a series of 13 weekend getaway itineraries curated by a diverse group of local creatives. Each of these local creatives will share a little about themselves, and recommend some of their favorite lodging accommodations, community attractions, restaurants, entertainment activities, hidden hangouts, and not-to-miss cultural destinations. Learn more here: https://www.culturaloffice.org/programs/creative-stays/ 

Video Descriptiont: A man rides a bicycle through a bustling creative business district. He is interviewed in a close shot as he describes the tourism campaign.  


Lincoln Arts - Lincoln, Nebraska

While many folks appreciate the cultural benefit provided to a community, not everyone realizes that the local arts industry supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is a cornerstone of tourism. Over the past year, Lincoln Arts Council has sought to invite the Lincoln community to join the conversation surrounding the arts through administering and collecting surveys at nonprofit arts and culture events throughout Lincoln to determine levels of arts event-related spending. Once study results become available in October of this year, AEP6 and Lincoln Arts intend to showcase that a strong investment in the arts industry exists. When we invest in the arts, we strengthen our local economy. The arts mean business, and it's time we start to think about the arts that way! Learn more here: https://www.artscene.org/aep6 

In 2022 we saw...


Arts Alive Keene NH 

Every year in late September, leaders and change-makers from around the country gather in Keene, NH for the annual Radically Rural Summit. A jam-packed two days of lectures, classes, roundtables, mixers, and activities, the summit, this year on September 27-28, is designed to build networks and generate ideas to promote flourishing rural communities. Hosted by the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship and the Keene Sentinel, Arts Alive Monadnock is proud to partner on this project to lead the Arts & Culture track. Arts Alive gathers thought leaders and creatives in the arts world to introduce their work and ideas. They intentionally focus on pairing large organizations with stories from folks creating grassroots community change. Learn more here: https://monadnockartsalive.org/radicallyrural-arts-track 



Reason 5 | Arts improve academic performance.

Students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs, standardized test scores, and college-going rates as well as lower drop-out rates. These academic benefits are reaped by students across all socio-economic strata. Yet, the Department of Education reports that access to arts education for students of color is significantly lower than for their white peers. 91% of Americans believe that arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education. 


DC Arts & Humanities Education Collaborative - Washington, D.C.

DC Collaborative supports DC public and public charter schools by creating equitable opportunities for arts and humanities engagement in classrooms, and by addressing access barriers such as transportation needs and programmatic costs. With the help of our members, cultural institutions, professionals, and artists, we foster a rich community focused on collective impact and uplifting the entire DC arts and humanities community. Learn more here, https://dccollaborative.org 

Students in the "Play Work Build" room at the National Building Museum.



Reason 6 | Arts spark creativity and innovation.

Creativity is among the top five applied skills sought by business leaders—per the Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate report—with 72% saying creativity is of “high importance” when hiring. Research on creativity shows that Nobel laureates in the sciences are 17 times more likely to be actively engaged as an arts maker than other scientists.  


Brooklyn Arts Council - Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn Arts Council promotes professional development programs to augment and connect the expertise and networks of artists, art organizations, and cross-sector collaborators, seeding the field with insights, technical assistance and tools for thriving. One of the programs, Consider Culture: Pathways in the Creative Sector, is a virtual space designed to share professional experiences to inform and inspire other creatives to meaningful, generative, and viable career options in Arts and Culture. Consider Culture also advocates for the transformative power of the arts with stories of imagination, impact, and success from across the Creative Sector. Check out more here, https://www.brooklynartscouncil.org/what-we-do/professional-development 

Brooklyn NY Arts - Pathways in the Creative Sector



Reason 7 | Arts have social impact.

University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to greater civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates.


Yoknapatawpha Arts Council - Oxford, Mississippi

Each year the @yacartscouncil challenges creative entrepreneurs to formulate a goal for their business and to use the CSA to achieve or move toward it. Creatives use the CSA to share their story and invite people to support their growth as artists and entrepreneurs. When you purchase a share, you are not only receiving a unique item, you are supporting the growth of small businesses in your community. You can follow your arts entrepreneur from the initial idea through the creative process. Connect with the unique stories that define our community! Check out more here https://oxfordarts.com/ #GrowingSmallBusinesses #GrowingOxford 

Artists: Kate Donovan Studio, Crystal’s Custom Craft Creations, Anubis Improv, Grapefruit, Bee’s Designs


Arts and Science Council Charlotte - Charlotte, North Carolina

Arts and Science Council Charlotte Cultural Leadership Training (CLT) program is designed to identify emerging leaders and help them develop into productive volunteers and board candidates for cultural organizations across our community. During a nine-month period, participants gain a deeper understanding of the cultural community through classroom educational sessions, cultural events and programs, and placement with a Mecklenburg County cultural organization as either a one-year apprentice or as a full-term board member at the conclusion of the program. Check out more here, https://artsandscience.org/cultural-leadership-training/ 

Five ASC Cultural Leadership Training Program graduates (from left) Katrina Pride, Tim Miller, Amy Fistner, Matthew Gardner and Katrina Louis.



Reason 8 | Arts improve healthcare.

Nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families, and even staff. 78% deliver these programs because of their healing benefits to patients—shorter hospital stays, better pain management, and less medication. 


Culture Works - Dayton, Ohio

The arts drive economic development, build community pride, foster academic achievement and civic engagement, and promote health and wellness. Culture Works truly knows how impactful the arts can be. Through their Dayton Region Arts Renewal Grant program they support the creation of jobs in the local arts sector, keep the doors open to the regions arts organizations, and assist the field in its response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the awarded projects was ArtHealth Together: A collaborative project led by artist Amy Stuckedeal to empower Dayton-area middle school students to work together to create artwork to foster comfort and calm for both patients and employees at Five Rivers Health Center. Learn more here, https://cultureworks.org/

5th Grade Students from Dayton Leadership Academies experimenting and painting with non-traditional painting tools



Reason 9 | Arts for the health and well-being of our military.

The arts heal the mental, physical, and moral injuries of war for military service members and Veterans—who rank the creative arts therapies in the top four (out of 40) interventions and treatments. Across the military continuum the arts promote resilience during pre-deployment, deployment, and the reintegration of military service members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers into communities. 


Arts and Culture El Dorado - El Dorado County, California

Veterans' Voices is a free and ongoing writing workshop that is open to all veterans, from any branch of service hosted by Arts and Culture Eldorado. It offers a supportive environment and the tools needed for the writing of fiction and nonfiction stories, service related or not, as well as memoir, poetry and drama. “When you write, you stand as a witness to your time and preserve forever the words you want to share.” - Workshop leader. Find out more and read the stories here, https://artsandcultureeldorado.org/veterans-voices/ 

Writings by Workshop Participants


Hylton Performing Arts Center - Manassas, Virginia

The Veterans and the Arts Initiative, based at the Hylton Performing Arts Center at George Mason University, has served as an arts and community hub for 14,000 military-connected people since 2014. They offer free, hands-on workshops, exhibitions featuring Veterans’ artwork, and concerts for local Veterans, Servicemembers, and military family members (including military partners and kids). Check out more here, https://hyltoncenter.org/programs/veterans-and-arts-initiative 



Reason 10 | Arts Strengthen Mental Health.

The arts are an effective resource in reducing depression and anxiety and increasing life satisfaction. Just 30 minutes of active arts and creative activities daily can combat the ill effects of isolation and loneliness associated with COVID-19. 


CREATE Council on the Arts - New York

CREATE Council works to broaden and enrich the quality of life in Greene, Columbia & Schoharie Counties by developing and strengthening all the arts and by fostering cultural and arts related activities. CREATE stands for Council for Resources to Enrich the Arts, Technology & Education. Through their grant and community programs, they support the many facets of the area’s creative economy. Recently they held an inspirational workshop for book making for mental health recovery book viewing and artists reception at the Mental Health Awareness and Creative Arts Gallery with their education grantee Peers, Tears, and Pages! Peers, Tears and Pages mission: "The combination of our work backgrounds and lived experience with mental illness inform this recovery workshop. Our belief is that the creative process is a healing process in itself. Our intent is to help people who are struggling to understand and manage their mental health. By having them express their ideas visually in a creative, interactive and open setting, students put together a record of their most personal and meaningful thoughts into a work of art." Check out more here, https://www.greenearts.org

Image description: examples of books created at the Peers, Tears and Pages workshops   Image credit: Jesse Sanchez and Brian Karas presentation on Peers, Tears, and Pages Book making for mental health recovery program


Regional Arts Commission Saint Louis - Missouri

Art has the power to heal, connect, and illuminate. The Saint Louis Regional Arts Commission supported artist Leslie Holt’s Neuro Blooms Project to do just that. The program made mental health conditions visible and beautiful by transforming brain scans into captivating “maps” of complex electrical activity. The project encouraged curiosity and addressed the stigmatization that can surround mental health conditions, which causes isolation, discrimination, and peoples’ reluctance to seek support for treatable conditions. The Neuro Blooms act as an approachable conversation starter, helping to dispel damaging myths and promote better understanding of the struggles and unique offerings of neurodiverse people. Learn more here, https://racstl.org/neuroblooms/  

Video Description: Leslie Holt, Artist & Creator of Neuro Blooms, and Con Christeson, Artist & Operator of Red Chair Studios, discuss the Neuro Blooms project displayed on Cherokee Street storefront windows in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Videographer: Jason Schipkowski; Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis