Michigan Radio has a great radio documentary titled The Cost of Creativity that I really hope you get a chance to check out. They note that while Michigan was funding arts & culture at a level of $26 million dollars a year through a combination of state taxes and federal money a decade ago, it’s just $2.5 million today. As a comparison: Michigan taxpayers will spend more on prisons in 11 hours than they spend on arts and culture in the entire year.
Jennifer Goulet, president of Artserve Michigan says that art can be a concrete economic development tool (ArtPrize anyone?) and create cities where young, talented professionals want to live. She explains:
Arts and cultural institutions, attractions, museums, galleries, concert halls and so forth contributed 15% of the state’s cultural tourism revenues – it was 1.8 billion dollars. More than golf courses. And I think putting it in that context, that’s a major contributor to the state.
All of those businesses are adding jobs in local communities. Those are all job-holders that are paying taxes locally and at the state level. They are people who are buying groceries, and buying gas, and shopping in their local communities.
In this fantastic documentary, Michigan Radio Arts & Culture Reporter/Producer Jennifer Guerra talks with all kinds of people from Dan Austin of the website Buildings of Detroit about the some of America’s finest architecture and the phenomena of “ruin porn” to Traverse City artist Bill Hosner who started a cool CafÃ© Society project that uses art to create scholarships for baristas in Northern Michigan.
One of the many artists interviewed was cellist Andrea Moreno Beals of Breathe Owl Breathe. She kicks this video off and you should check it out as well!