Listen closely please; do you hear those words of a famous quote from Shakespeare in your community? Look over there; do you see a young lady in a white leotard elegantly positioned on just one toe? Is your breath taken away from the musical notes and talents of the lyrical soprano singing effortlessly on stage?
Or do your spirit, mind and body travel to unknown worlds when engulfed by the combination of horns, keys and drums playing in a symphony? Do you tear up, laugh, or get angry over shades of paint arranged by brushes? Well you should, not only for cultural awareness but for real estate value as well.
When communities invest in the arts they are fueling economic growth, creating jobs, increasing property values and making their communities more attractive to young professionals who want to start a career or business, a family, and home environment. These young professionals are increasingly driven by quality of life and cultural amenities in their cities of choice. The most famous of theatre districts of course is Broadway! “Besides New York, the popularity of Broadway theatre has spread to Chicago, Los Angeles and other major cities in the US. It is the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. It is followed by West End theatre in London” stated Author David Corn. He also states that Ticket sales on Broadway exceed 1.5 billion dollars annually.
The Woodruff Arts Center’s in Downtown Atlanta is one of the nation’s largest arts institutions, and the art and education programs it creates. This year’s record campaign goal is $9.5 million, representing approximately 10% of the Woodruff Art Center’s overall operating budget. Detached Homes being sold in a one mile radius of the Woodruff Arts Center cap out at $3.5 million and when you consider those homes attached such as condo’s and townhomes well you get top dollar at $1.8 million.
Closer to the Gwinnett Community in Norcross is the Lionheart Theatre in College Street Playhouse where housing in the immediate Downtown community will command a top dollar price of $650,000 for 4,000 square foot home, the most for any downtown community in all 16 cities Gwinnett County.
Lawrenceville, Georgia is on the fast track to becoming the center of the arts world for Gwinnett County with the Aurora Theatre and The Gwinnett Ballet Theatre leading the helm. The city’s downtown has been redeveloped with the help of past and current elected leaders encouraging the arts, developers building new housing, and community support for the Gwinnett Medical Center, Georgia Gwinnett College, and Gwinnett Technical College. The Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts (formerly the Arts Council) started in Lawrenceville and has moved several times, growing into what is now a beautiful Center off Sugarloaf Parkway. From the Hudgens website, the original 14,000 sq ft Hudgens Center for the Arts featured 4,000 sq ft of gallery space, a large education department, and an additional 28,000 sq ft comprising the Al Weeks Sculpture Garden, which graces the eastern side of the building. Enormous commitment and energy was expended in raising private funds to build the Center and to create the accompanying endowment. In 2000, an additional 20,000 sq ft of galleries, classrooms and performance space was added to the Center, bringing it up to the current size and configuration.
According to the Americans for the Arts study, the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences in the City of Atlanta, GA (Fiscal Year 2010) are as follows:
· Total Industry Expenditures $299,983,072
· Full Time Jobs Equivalent 9,424
· Household Income paid to Residents $232,223,000
· Revenue Generated for Local Government $14,190,000
· Revenue Generated for State Government $13,276,000
Spending by Arts and Culture Organizations and their audiences supports jobs and generates government revenue in which, people want to live close to work and in turn helps the housing market for local communities.
Business Insider did an article in June 2013 about the historic east Atlanta neighborhood called Edgewood Avenue “This Artist Co-Op Is Transforming Abandoned Atlanta Neighborhoods Into Prime Real Estate”. Once abandoned buildings now are at full capacity with both commercial businesses and residents all because of supporting the Arts. Once an area has heightened cultural activity, people with money tend to become more interested in it. But culture does more than draw wealth; it can also draw workers, improving an area’s job market and thus its economy. “Being a cultural center also helps local businesses attract employees who want to be able to regularly go to the ballet or the theater, hear authors read from their latest books or attend art-gallery openings,” according to BusinessWeek.
So as a resident and business owner in a community you should want to be involved with the Arts in your area. How do you do that?
1) You can volunteer. There is always extra work that needs to be done and many hands make light work.
2) You can buy season tickets; season tickets ensure your continued support and help you to commit to attending upcoming shows. They are also great gift ideas for the holidays, client appreciation and just thinking of you moments.
3) Advertise with your local arts if you are a small business owner, they always have opportunities with each and every show or exhibit they put together.
4) Donate financially to their efforts. Most if not all of these options are tax-deductible.
(This post, originally published on GwinettCitizen.com, is one in a weekly series highlighting the pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Visit our website to find out how both businesses and local arts agencies can get involved!)