Saturday, October 4, 2008

Arts, essential to the economy?

If you work in the arts or you support the arts, give yourself a pat on the back. The arts are essential to the economy...and I will give you some numbers to prove it.

First let me say that this post is inspired by the writings of Margaret Atwood in the Globe and Mail, September 24, 2008. This esteemed author asks the reader, "What sort of country do we want to live in? What sort of country do we already live in? What do we like? Who are we?".

Margaret Atwood's article is intended to get Canadians to think about where their elected officials or those running for office stand, with regards to the arts, as we approach our federal election.

What got my attention was her statement that the arts account for as many jobs as agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas and utilities combined. Could this be true?

So I did a bit of my own research and here is the wonderful news:

In August of 2008, an economic report was released from the Conference Board of Canada and it estimates that in 2007, arts and culture directly benefited the country by providing over 600,000 jobs, and providing $46 billion of the overall economy or about 3.8% of GDP.

When one looks at the direct and indirect economic benefits in 2007, the report argues that arts and culture generated $84.6 billion, 1.1 million jobs, at 7.4% of total gross domestic product!

The arts are a major contributor to the economic and social well being of our country. Something to think about in these interesting economic times. Do we really need song writers, actors, playwrights, potters, painters, dancers? Yes we do and not just for the feel good stuff of entertainment. Our society needs the arts because it contributes to the financial health of our nation and ensures a strong economy.

So if you support the arts congratulate yourself. If you work in the arts, hold your head up and be proud.

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