The Arts and Culture Sector Means Business

It’s no joke: the arts and culture sector means business.  In December, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released a first-time report on the impact of the cultural sector on the nation’s economy.  Their findings show that arts and culture production accounts for 3.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product or $504 billion. For comparison’s sake, the highly regarded U.S. travel and tourism industry was 2.8 percent of GDP.
The figures, which include the contributions of artists and select creative industries such as publishing, performing arts, arts education, motion pictures, advertising, and much more can be reviewed in greater detail on the NEA’s website. Not surprisingly, the report also reveals that the cultural sector was harder hit than most by the great recession.  Given its importance to the region and nation’s labor force and to the overall economy, the cultural sector warrants inclusion and attention in creating strategies for robust and thriving communities.
My most recent tour stop was at St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church for the terrific production of Scab by Interrobang, a recently launched theatre company and new member of GBCA.  I also stopped by to check out the latest big attraction at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  You can bet the just-unveiled and recently returned Renoir, On the Shores of the Seine will be drawing great crowds.  The saga of the little piece has captured the imagination of media around the world and even inspired a story line on the Simpsons.  If you go, be sure to pay attention to the bigger story about collector and philanthropist Sadie May, a pivotal figure in art history and important contributor to the BMA’s collection.
I hope to see you on Monday at GBCA’s Arts and Culture Happy Hour in partnership with the Baltimore National Heritage Area,


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