One thing I’ve learned during my years in the field of arts administration is that when it comes to the arts, decision makers are often willing to discount their intuition. They ignore that gut feeling they have that the arts really do make a difference in their community, because it can be difficult to prove. However, there is another lesson here as well: facts proven by valid research are extremely powerful and difficult to ignore.
That’s why last year, when a seven out of nine City Council members were newly-elected to the local government, ArtsBuild was there to welcome them with more than just an ask, and more than a promise that any funding to the arts would provide a real and tangible return on investment. We came armed with the proof—our customized Arts & Economic Prosperity™ report from Americans for the Arts. The payoff? Just a few weeks ago, we received word that the City Council approved an increase of $49,000 for ArtsBuild over the City’s 2012 funding.
With the economy still growing hesitantly, $49,000 is no drop in the bucket. This is a 22 percent increase in our allocation from the City from last year. Clearly, these dollars will make an enormous difference to the arts community in Chattanooga. This decision by the City Council, however, is symbolic of something larger: an understanding that the arts are more than just window dressing for our City. This investment demonstrates that the arts are integral to creating the kind of place where we all want to live and work. Read the rest of this entry »