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The Arts in Public Policy: An Advocacy Agenda

October 17, 200517 October 2005

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This issue of The NASAA Advocate from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies is a useful summary of the burgeoning body of American research into the impact of the arts on education, youth at risk, business, tourism, and economic development. The paper argues that “the arts give policy makers the tools to address a wide range of civic concerns in creative and cost-effective ways.” Most will probably be familiar with research results showing the strong academic performance of children who study the arts. This paper gives a glimpse of the detailed results of this type of research along with full references for those who want access to the source information.

Arts advocates needing arguments into why the arts stimulate rather than drain the local economy can benefit from “the arts and business” and “the arts and economic development” sections of the paper. The arts and business section argues that “the arts develop the kind of thinker and manager that businesses must have more of if they are to remain competitive in the global marketplace.” The economic development section of the paper notes how cultural development plays a “central role in urban revitalization and community renewal strategies” and how “the arts attract business, visitors and new consumer spending” by encouraging corporate location and job creation in arts-rich communities. Although this paper doesn’t explore new ground in terms of research results, it does give a practical, easy-to-read summary of existing research that can be used to build arts support.

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