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NEA chief reminds us that arts are essential to economic development

Rocco Landesman has just been sworn in as the new head of the National Endowment for the Arts. I like the way this man thinks! He understands that art can be a crucial element in economic development. With the economy faltering, I'm glad there is such an outspoken, visionary person speaking on behalf of arts funding.

Here's what he has to say:

“When you bring artists into a town, it changes the character, attracts economic development, makes it more attractive to live in and renews the economics of that town,” he said. “There are ways to draw artists into the center of things that will attract other people.”

The program would also help finance public art projects and performances and promote architectural preservation in downtown areas, Mr. Landesman added. “Every town has a public square or landmark buildings or places that have a special emotional significance,” he said. “The extent that art can address that pride will be great.”


Given the agency’s “almost invisible” budget, he said, goals like these would require public-private partnerships that enlist developers, corporations and individual investors — largely by getting them “to understand the critical role of art in urban revitalization.”

The new chairman said he already has a new slogan for his agency: “Art Works.” It’s “something muscular that says, ‘We matter.’ ” The words are meant to highlight both art’s role as an economic driver and the fact that people who work in the arts are themselves a critical part of the economy.

See the rest of the New York Times article here.

Photo credit: Damon Winter/The New York Times


Blogger Matthew Mann said...

I thought Jeremy Gerard's made some astute observations.

9:53 AM


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