June 25, 2021

The case for public art

Art is economically viable in that it enhances a cities identity and diversifies its cultural attractions.

Basically, people go places in order to see things, and if there is nothing to see they aren’t going to want to go. According to a UK study done by Schofields 40% of those under 33 are selecting their next trip based on “instragrammablity.” If instagram is what inspires a travelers next destination then cities need to consider what will make them more attractive on social media. The more public art there is in a community, the more marketable a city becomes to travelers.

As another benefit to locals, public murals create foot traffic. This in turn causes people to come into local shops and business thus increasing profits for those business.

Studies consistently show that art drastically improves our mental health and overall well being. This includes active exposure (like painting or singing) and passive exposure (like visiting a mural). In other words, art benefits both the artist and the viewer.

For those who need less of an intrinsic reason to value or pursue public art the economic impact that art has on communities is astronomical. Often when business are looking to build in communities it is the intangible things that become tangible and convince businesses and people to move into a community.

A great example of this is “Creative State Michigan,” a report from the art promotion group ArtServe Michigan. They found that for every $1 invested in nonprofit arts and cultural groups in 2009, those organizations pumped more than $51 into Michigan’s economy through spending on things like rent, programs, travel and salaries.

With people now being able to start traveling again, it is important for cities to give travelers a reason to visit. What better way to draw people into a community than through art and experience. To quote J. Clayton Hering, president of Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts, “The sign of a great state or a great city is the strength of its cultural life.”