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The Hill: ‘An investment in the arts is an investment in economic growth’

Posted on: Feb 10, 2015

We were thrilled to see that an opinion letter penned by Arts Action Fund member Camellia Termini was recently published in 'The Hill'. 'The Hill' is a non-partisan publication that has, "a print circulation of above 24,000 -- with the largest circulation on Capitol Hill -- and is read by opinion leaders, including 100% of Congressional offices, the White House, political pundits, association executives, lobbyists and corporate leaders."1

Our thanks to Camellia for her effective and timely communication, submitted at the outset of the House and Senate discussions on education reform, and for her permission to share her column in its entirety here.

'An investment in the arts is an investment in economic growth'


by Camellia Termini, February 4, 2015

According to Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts industry (museums, theater and dance companies, performing arts centers, orchestras, arts councils and others) generates $22.3 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues annually — a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations.

Because the National Endowment for the Arts supports artistic excellence and improves access to the arts by granting funds to nonprofit arts organizations, I call on our federal officials to support an increase in funding for the NEA beyond its 1993 funding level of $174 million. That funding figure equals $277 million in today’s dollars.

Our schools need more arts education. Despite including the arts as being one of the 10 core academic subjects, the No Child Left Behind law has pushed arts classes to the side. Schools, especially those struggling, can retain their best teachers by becoming incubators for creativity and innovation; places where students want to learn and teachers want to teach. Students with an education rich in the arts have better GPAs, score better on standardized tests in reading and math, and have lower dropout rates — findings that cut across all socio-economic categories. Congress should support an expansion of the federal arts education program to provide the best models for schools to include the arts in their curriculum.

Our rural communities contain some of the greatest cultural assets of our country. Rural economic development should be strengthened to help these communities promote the richness of their heritage and assist local artists with their entrepreneurship.

Across the country, the role of the arts as an economic engine is growing in acceptance and strength. I call on all lawmakers to support funding and policies at the federal level that would recognize the growth potential and direct benefits of encouraging cities and states to strategically invest in the arts in order to drive economic development.

Reposted with permission from the author. Originally appeared in The Hill: http://bit.ly/artsinvestment.

Photo courtesy Camellia Termini.

1About information from The Hill's website: http://thehill.com/contact/about-us.