Press-Republican

Guest Column

March 30, 2014

Arts may boost business

Recently, while emptying some boxes of stuff that I had packed up from my former office on the U.S. Oval, I found copies of two periodicals, the Economic Development Journal from the winter of 2009 and a 2011 copy of Urban Land Institute’s Urban Land magazine. They both contained articles on the role arts and culture play in economic development.

They seemed timely because of the resurgence in interest in creating a vibrant cultural community in Plattsburgh.

The articles ask the question, is investing in the arts, as it relates to place-making and economic development, a good investment?

The Urban Land Institute’s David Malmuth thinks so. In the Urban Land magazine article, Malmuth wrote, “I make the case that a strategic investment in arts and culture initiatives, whether conceived by the public or private sectors, can have very significant impacts in economic vitality, jobs and revenues.”

It’s a change in thinking from traditional economic development, which usually focuses on export-based industries that bring new revenues into a community. While most of us can appreciate the intrinsic benefits of the arts, we don’t always view them as an economic driver. We tend to view the arts as an “amenity.”

Should we view them as an economically important industry sector?

Perhaps we should, given that a key component of many economically successful rural communities is the presence of a vibrant arts community. Around the country, rural communities are beginning to recognize that “the arts” (broadly defined) need to be part of any economic-development strategy.

The topic becomes more intriguing considering that the article in the Economic Development Journal made the case that innovation and creativity are becoming more important to regional economic development, so schools should be reintroducing arts education into their curriculum. My friend, Amanda, the neuroscientist, confirmed for me that there is a strong link between arts education and cognitive development, loosely defined as thinking, problem-solving, understanding concepts and processing information.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Guest Column
  • clute_cropped.jpg Finding accountability, healing

    Today, I focus on the vast majority of cases that do not go to trial but end in a guilty plea, writes former District Attorney and City Judge Penny Clute.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • krieg_felicia_mug.jpg Affordable doesn't mean low quality

    Drugstore products often perform just as well as their high-end counterparts, Felicia Krieg writes.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • paul_grasso.jpg Opportunity to repair infrastructure missed

    A vibrant economy requires roads, bridges, dams and other assets that are in good condition, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ken_wibecan.jpg Remembering the Sixties

    Each Memorial Day and Labor Day in the early 1960s, about a dozen of us city-dwellers drove to Lake George, writes columnist Ken Wibecan.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg The right to be forgotten?

    Europe taking first steps toward securing privacy with Google and Facebook, writes columnist Stu Denenberg.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Ethical consumerism in vogue

    However, making purchasing choices that can help save the planet aren't always that simple, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg U.S. lacking leadership

    Inspiration is hard to come by as society struggles to fulfill the traditional American dream, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for quality, safety, animal welfare

    June Dairy Month is a good time to appreciate all the effort that goes into producing the very best in dairy products, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Libraries still relevant

    In the digital age, it takes innovation and creativity to assure libraries stay a vital part of the community, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Trees at risk from pests

    The Emerald Ash Borer is a major threat to ash trees locally and across North America, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo