October 31st, 2020

The arts offer many benefits

By Submitted Article on November 8, 2019.

Submitted by the Allied Arts Council

The arts are all around us! Around every corner, in every community in Alberta, one can see, experience and feel the benefits that the arts and culture bring to our neighbourhoods, hamlets, villages, towns and cities. The arts – including the literary arts, performing arts, visual arts and the cultural industries – create economic and social benefits for Albertans and are integral to our prosperity as a province.

What are the economic impacts of the arts in Alberta? Having an active and vibrant arts sector is an important component of a healthy and diversified economy.

The arts create jobs. Theatre companies, dance troupes, art galleries, music groups, publishers and the many, many, many other arts organizations in Alberta all provide direct employment for residents. Statistics collected by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) in 2014 show that annually over 3,400 Albertans are directly employed either full or part-time by arts organizations that receive funding from the AFA. Salaries paid to these Albertans total well over $70 million each year.

Artists and arts organizations spend money in their communities. The economic benefit does not end with job creation – supplies and services are needed, buildings are required, furniture is a must-have – not to mention the need for their employees to buy consumer goods and belongings in the communities in which they live. Arts organizations spend over $192 million on their operations, productions and sales per year. The economic spin-offs and the indirect impact from arts organizations would generate a long list of benefits for a community’s economy.

The arts make a community attractive for the workforce. In “The Defiant Imagination,” Max Wyman states: “A growing number of studies show that when cities promote art, culture and heritage activities, they not only improve the quality of life for their citizens but also attract the skilled workforce on which a vibrant economy depends.” (2004)

Arts organizations support the voluntary sector. Volunteers provide valuable in-kind services and support to organizations that ultimately benefit the economic well being of a community. More than 51,000 volunteers support arts organizations in Alberta each year and contribute over 1.9 million hours to the successful presentation of arts events and activities.

Albertans spend their hard-earned money on cultural events and activities, thus fuelling the economy of the province. Albertans make conscious decisions to attend arts and cultural events and spend their money doing so. Total attendance at arts events throughout the province reaches over nine million annually – almost double the population of the province!

The economic benefits that Albertans receive from the arts are a small part of the overall impact that the arts have on our lives. The arts are a creative force that enables us to learn, heal, remember our past, think to our future and allow us to express who we are as individuals, communities and nations.

Life is a masterpiece … share your love of the arts!

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