Investments in the Arts and Culture Are Economic and Quality of Life Drivers
Strong financial investment in creative industries is a significant driver for creating economic competitiveness and a desirable quality of life. A high creative capital quotient is one the factors that mobile talent workers (and, therefore, the companies that employ them) look for when choosing a place to live. The creative arts are also being used successfully in the region to re- vitalize neglected neighborhoods and reenergize downtowns. The arts are contributing to the image of the region as one of the hemisphere’s newest and most dynamic cosmopolitan hubs. Southeast Florida is now known internationally as the home of major museums and theaters, performing arts companies, and
special events and as a place where artists are creating important new works reflecting the unique qualities of the region.
Methods of Investing in Arts and Culture
Significant public and private sector investments in cultural arts programs and facilities is a regional quality of life and economic priority. That can include incorporating best practices in strategic arts support and establishing incentives to encourage arts growth. Examples include establishing dedicated funding sources for the arts, putting in place live-work-sell cultural districts with zoning and other financial benefits, creating micro loans designed for artists (could be done regionally), and offering developers incentives to undertake innovative public-private partnerships that support the cultural arts. Another method is to direct some of the funding from special taxing districts to the cultural arts and continue to create more cultural tourism campaigns and arts and economic development marketing initiatives. Seven50 should be an advocate for state and federal funding that complement local and regional strategies and provide the meaningful levels of support needed advance the arts throughout the region. It is especially important to emphasize artists’ involvement in designing public housing and other government facilities where public art and arts venues can make them more attractive places to live, work, and visit. The Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, once commented that all residents, no matter how poor they might be, should have beauty around them. And that is where he began his work to revitalize the city.