Here is a growing collection -- welcoming your input -- that presents evidence and statistics, quotes and anecdotes from a broad range of sources, highlighting the benefits of the arts in our lives, our schools and communities, our towns and counties -- and yes, our economy. A win-win-win proposition: for artists and audiences and economy. Art Works -- as the NEA and we say!
Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add your voice, your stories and testimonials.
Why The Arts?
Excerpts from Americans for the Arts advocacy pages
The arts are essential to the health and vitality of our communities and our nation:
- Aesthetics: The arts create beauty and preserve it as part of culture
- Creativity: The arts encourage creativity, a critical skill in a dynamic world
- Health and wellness: Studies demonstrate a direct health benefit to arts engagement
- Expression: Artistic work lets us communicate our interests and visions
- Identity: Arts goods, services, and experiences help define our culture
- Innovation: The arts are sources of new ideas, futures, concepts, and connections
- Preservation: Arts and culture keep our collective memory intact
- Prosperity: The arts create jobs and enhance economic health
- Skills: Arts aptitudes and techniques are needed in all sectors of society and work
- Social Capital: We enjoy the arts together, across races, generations, and places
Americans for the Arts National Arts Index
- Students who participate in the arts, both in school and after school, demonstrate improved academic performance and lower dropout rates. Despite including the arts as being one of the ten core academic subjects, the No Child Left Behind law has helped to push arts classes to the side. Schools, especially those struggling, can retain their best teachers by becoming incubators for creativity and innovation; places where students want to learn and teachers want to teach.
- Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages, score better on standardized tests in reading and math, and have lower dropout rates—findings that cut across all socio-economic categories.The arts can "level the playing field" for youngsters from disadvantaged circumstances.
- Data from The College Board shows that students who take four years of arts and music classes while in high school score 98 points better on their SATs than students who took only one-half year or less.
Parents Want More Arts in the Schools
- A 2006 Harris Poll on the attitudes of Americans toward arts education revealed that 93 percent of Americans agree that the arts are vital to providing a well-rounded education for children. Additionally, 54 percent rated the importance of arts education a “ten” on a scale of one to ten.
- Studies by the U.S. Department of Justice researchers demonstrate increased pro-social behavior among youth involved with arts programs. The YouthARTS® Project demonstrates that these programs have a measurable impact on youth at risk in deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems, promoting more pro-social behavior, improving communications skills with peers and adults, increased ability to complete tasks from start to finish, and fewer new court referrals.
- Research by Dr. Shirley Brice Heath of Stanford University shows that "young people who are actively engaged in arts learning and arts productions improve their self esteem and confidence, assume leadership roles, and improve their overall school performance." What’s interesting: Dr. Heath wasn’t studying the arts—rather, studying after-school programs. Her data revealed a remarkable outlier of effectiveness—which turned out to be the arts
- Neuroscientists at seven major universities found strong links between arts education and cognitive development (e.g., thinking, problem solving, concept understanding, information processing, and overall intelligence). Children motivated in the arts develop attention skills and memory retrieval that also apply to other subject areas.
The Arts Are Fundamental to Society
- The arts are integral to the lives of our citizens. We appreciate them for their intrinsic benefits—their beauty and vision and how they inspire, soothe, provoke, and connect us. The arts ennoble us as people. They provide bridges between cultures. They embody the accumulated wisdom, intellect, and imagination of humankind (it’s how you track our civilization on the radar screen). Government and private-sector support are essential to promote full access to and participation in exhibits, performances, arts education, and other cultural events regardless of family income.
- The arts are essential to the health and vitality of our communities and our nation. They improve the quality of life in our cities and town. They enhance community development; spur urban renewal; attract new businesses; draw tourism dollars; and create an environment that attracts skilled, educated workers and builds your third millennium workforce.
- In the rapidly changing (and challenging) times in which we live, the arts are salve for the ache. Both military and civilian populations have long relied on the arts for inspiration, to hold up morale, to fight anxiety, and to express our democratic values. Arts leaders are strong partners, especially in tough times. During the Nazi blitz on London, Winston Churchill was asked to close the theaters by his military leaders. His response was, ''Good God, man, what the hell are we fighting for?''
- Ready to Innovate, a new study published by the Conference Board (serving the Fortune 1000 U.S. companies) provides the first research-based evidence that connects the arts to creativity and innovation. U.S. employers rate creativity/innovation among the top five skills that will increase in importance over the next five years, and rank it among the top challenges facing CEOs. Ninety-seven percent of employers and 99 percent of school superintendents say creativity is increasingly important in U.S. workplaces. Seventy-two percent of employers say creativity is of primary concern when they’re hiring—and 85 percent of these employers can’t find the creative applicants they seek. “Arts-related study in college” is a key creativity indicator to potential employers.
- The report concludes that “it is clear that the arts—music, creative writing, drawing, dance—provide skills sought by employers of the third millennium.”
A Vibrant Arts Community Is Important to the Business Community
- A strong arts and arts education presence in the community will develop the kind of workers business leaders need to compete in the 21st century global economy. With tough times, innovation and creativity are more important than ever. A strong arts sector helps attract and retain skilled and educated workers.
- In tough economic times, cities will compete aggressively to attract and retain businesses in an effort to shore up sagging economies. A strong arts and culture sector and a creative workforce are critical factors in attracting and keeping businesses.
- In tough times, people will take more "staycations," as they look to avoid airfares. A strong arts sector will encourage people to stay local and attend cultural events close to home, boosting the local economy.
- The decline in business, personal, and real estate tax revenues are hurting local economies. Spending by cultural tourists will pour more sales and hotel tax dollars into municipal coffers, which means fewer cuts in city services and a decreased likelihood of tax increases—good news for businesses.
- According the Travel Industry Association, cultural tourists spend more ($631 vs. $457), are more likely to use a hotel (62 percent vs. 56 percent), travel longer (5.2 nights vs. 4.1 nights), and are more likely to spend $1,000+ (18 percent vs. 12 percent) than the average traveler
- Public art and a vibrant cultural community beautifies and animates cities, provides employment, attracts residents and tourists, complements adjacent businesses, enhances property values, expands the tax base, attracts well-educated employees, and contributes to a creative and innovative environment.
- Research sponsored by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development demonstrates that arts programs in public housing areas increase neighborhood pride, decrease vandalism, provide safe havens, improve inter-generational communications, and increase tolerance between different cultures and ethnicities.
Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts
- The arts are a formidable industry in the United States, with nearly 100,000 nonprofit arts and culture organizations (e.g., museums, dance companies, symphonies, zoos, arts schools). Adding in for-profit arts businesses (such as film, design, publishing, and architecture), there are 612,095 businesses in the United States involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 2.98 million people. Nationally, arts businesses represent 4.3 percent of all business and 2.2 percent of all employees. The source for these data is Dun & Bradstreet, the most comprehensive and trusted source for business information in the United States. When policy and funding decisions are made, we need to consider how it affects the arts industry.
- The arts attract a skilled and educated workforce to communities. That in turn brings businesses looking for talent. Cities that want this competitive advantage use Creative Industry data to measure themselves by.
- Most of us appreciate the intrinsic benefits of the arts—their beauty and vision and how they inspire, soothe, provoke, and connect us. When it comes time to make tough funding choices, however, elected officials and business leaders also need to have strong and credible data that demonstrate the economic benefits of a vibrant nonprofit arts and culture industry.
- Nonprofit arts organizations are members of the business community—employing people locally, purchasing goods and services within the community, and involved in the marketing and promotion of their cities. Nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences generate $166.2 billion dollar in economic activity every year—$63.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences, proving that the arts are an economic driver in their communities that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism.
- When we reduce their support for the arts, we are not cutting frills. Rather, we’re undercutting an industry that is a cornerstone of tourism, economic development, and the revitalization of many downtowns. When we increase support for the arts, we are generating tax revenues, jobs, and a creativity-based economy.
- The typical attendee to a nonprofit arts event spends $27.79 per person, per event (excluding admission) on transportation, lodging, and other event-related costs. Nonlocal attendees spend twice as much as their local counterparts ($40.19 vs. $19.53). Thirty-nine percent of attendees are nonlocal. Few industries can boast this kind of event-related spending
- In the past 30 years, healthcare costs have risen from 6 to 16 percent of the nation’s GDP—exceeding $2.5 trillion in 2007. Nearly half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families, and staff. Seventy-eight percent provide these programs because they benefit patients and create a healing environment. The arts can promote faster healing, shorter hospital stays, and lower medication usage. At Children’s Hospital in Tallahassee, using the arts during preparation for pediatric CAT Scans saved $567 per procedure
- In a controlled research by the Center on Aging, researchers found that older Americans involved in the arts demonstrated better health, fewer doctor visits, and less medication usage—saving money and improving quality of life.
Why the Arts Need Support
- Support for the nonprofit arts in the United States is a mosaic of funding sources—an ever-changing mix of earned revenue, government support, and private-sector contributions. Nonprofit arts organizations are generally able to earn only half of the money it takes to sustain their operation. The other half must be raised through contributions and grants. Even small fluctuations in contributed revenue can mean deficits for many organizations. Please do what you can to help keep the arts alive in your schools and communities. Support your local non-profit arts organizations.
Download complete document
Why Arts in Education?
Young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week through at least one full year are:
- 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
- 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
- 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
- 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
- 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem
- Attend music, art, and dance classes nearly three times as frequently
- Participate in youth groups nearly four times as frequently
- Read for pleasure nearly twice as often
- Perform community service more than four times as often
The facts are that arts education...
- makes a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has been proven to help level the "learning field" across socio-economic boundaries
(Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School, James S. Catterall, The UCLA Imagination Project, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, UCLA, Americans for the Arts Monograph, January 1998)
- has a measurable impact on at-risk youth in deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems while also increasing overall academic performance among those youth engaged in afterschool and summer arts programs targeted toward delinquency prevention
(YouthARTS Development Project, 1996, U.S. Department of Justice, National Endowment for the Arts, and Americans for the Arts)
Businesses understand that arts education...
- builds a school climate of high expectation, discipline, and academic rigor that attracts businesses relocating to your community
- strengthens student problem-solving and critical thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement and school success
- helps students develop a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting—skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond
- can help troubled youth, providing an alternative to destructive behavior and another way for students to approach learning
- provides another opportunity for parental, community, and business involvement with schools, including arts and humanities organizations
- helps all students develop more appreciation and understanding of the world around them
- helps students develop a positive work ethic and pride in a job well done
(Business Circle for Arts Education in Oklahoma, "Arts at the Core of Learning 1999 Initiative") http://www.americansforthearts.org/public_awareness/artsed_facts/001.asp
Download complete document
Other Quotes in Support of the Arts
~ Charles Mingus
".... After the dust of centuries has passed over cities, we will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics,
but for our contribution to the human spirit.”
~ John F. Kennedy
“If you have only two pennies, spend the first on bread and the other on hyacinths for your soul.”
~ Arab Proverb
“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I will answer: I came to live out loud.”
~ Emile Zola
"It is a pity to make a mystery out of what should most easily be understood. There is nothing occult about the thought that all things maybe made well or made ill. A work of art is a well-made thing -- that is all. It may be a well made statue of a well made chair or a well made book. Art is not a special sauce applied to ordinary cooking; it is the cooking itself that is good. Most simply and generally, Art may be thought of as "The Well Doing of What Needs Doing."
~ Oscar Wilde
"If we, as citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality
and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams."
~Yann Martel, from the introduction to his novel "Life of Pi"
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
~ Red Auerbach
"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music.
I see my life in terms of music... I get most joy in life out of music."
~ Albert Einstein, 1929
"Amidst all the attention given to the sciences as to how they can lead to the cure of all diseases and daily problems of mankind, I believe that the biggest breakthrough will be the realization that the arts, which are conventionally considered "useless," will be recognized as the whole reason why we ever try to live longer or live more prosperously. The arts are the science of enjoying life."
~ John Maeda, Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT
"...The arts, instead of quaking along the periphery of our policy concerns, must push boldly into the core of policy. The arts are a response to our individuality and our nature and help to shape our identity. The arts are not a frill and should not be treated as such. They have the potential to become the driving force for healing division and divisiveness."
~ Rep. Barbara Jordan, 1993, 1993 Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy
“I believe that in a great city, or even in a small village, a great theater is the outward and visible sign of an inward and probable culture.”
~ Sir Laurence Olivier
“If food and shelter give us life, the arts give us something to live for.”
~ Thomas H. Kean, former Governor of New Jersey
"Let's be an America in which everyone– the young and the young-at-heart – has access to the art that glorifies and challenges that instigates and infuriates, that heals and renews, and that moves our hearts and minds."
~ Darren Walker