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Securing adequate funding is the cornerstone of any public art program. Aside from donations from private individuals and corporations, there are a number of approaches through which to garner financial support for art. These ways can be broken into four broad tracts: public/private sector endeavors; percent- and non-percent-for-art programs; developer participation; and local funding sources.
Collectively, arts and culture enable understanding of the past and envisioning of a shared, more equitable future. In disinvested communities, arts and culture act as tools for equitable development- shaping infrastructure, transportation, access to healthy food, and connecting community identity to the development of a vibrant local economy. In communities of color and low-income communities, arts and culture contribute to strengthening cultural identity, healing trauma, and fostering shared vision for community.
Signs of renaissance abound in the City of Grand Rapids. Cranes and construction dominate the urban heart of Downtown. The city is on track to recover all of its pre-recession population and now claims one of the nation's strongest real estate markets. And Forbes recently declared the regional economy one of the fastest-growing in the U.S. Yet this rapid expansion is contrasted by a costly degree of deepening racial inequity. Poverty, for example, grew faster across greater Grand Rapids in recent years than it did in Detroit. The unemployment rate exceeds 25 and 50 percent for Hispanic and Black citizens, respectively, in our urban neighborhoods. Even in Downtown Grand Rapids, generally perceived as affluent, 66 percent of residents earn less than the area median income. Clearly, conventional economic recovery and growth is not sufficient to solve the persistent racial and ethnic inequity in our community. We need a fundamentally new approach to systemically achieve growth with prosperity that is widely shared by all residents in the "new" Grand Rapids. Toward this necessary end, GR Forward recommends a series of sound strategies to simultaneously promote growth, equity of opportunity, and a more welcoming Downtown. Please find a summary of these proposed actions, targets, and success measures on page 34 of the full GR Forward plan. These recommendations reflect what we heard from thousands of citizens and stakeholders who participated in GR Forward's extensive engagement process.
We've done a great job developing technology and labor saving machines, which unfortunately has produced a population that is disconnected from nature and sedentary. Our fondness of sitting is reflected in growing rates of obesity, diabetes, and chronic pain. One of the best things we can do to help people become more physically active is to give them public, open spaces where they can move their bodies. This document provides ideas for cities to reconsider existing public spaces and existing park furniture as exercise equipment. This is a low-cost, high-reward strategy to bring residents together in a public space and demonstrate a cultural commitment to holistic well-being. Cities can begin to think of parks as a way to provide access to the natural world, and a place where people can connect with their own physical bodies and each other.
Nationally, the arts industry generated $135.2 billion of economic activity - $61.1 billion by the nation's nonprofit arts and culture organizations in addition to $74.1 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences. This economic activity supports 4.1 million full-time jobs. Our industry also generates $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments every year - a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations.
If ecologies evolve through diversification, cities mature through aggregation of talent and resources. The Creative Corridor Plan is premised upon the aggregation of complementary creative organizations currently scattered throughout Little Rock. Some of these groups exist at the financial margin and struggle to stay alive. Their ability to secure greater visibility and support will likely be amplified through new synergies from aggregation. Facilities slated to anchor The Creative Corridor include instruction and production spaces for the symphony, ballet, arts center, visual artists, theater, and dance, as well as a culinary arts economy that triangulates restaurants, demonstration, and education.
America is growing older. The implications and costs of this extraordinary demographic shift are now upon us. In the public arena, every day brings hand-wringing from leaders in government and business over the increasing strains on social safety nets and health-care systems. On a personal level, we want to know where we'll live, how we'll take care of ourselves, and whether we'll enjoy meaning and dignity as we age. How should we respond to the aging of America? Of course, there are societal and personal challenges that may seem daunting and must be addressed. But it's not all dire news. Aging Americans want to remain healthy, active, engaged, and contributing members of society. They represent not only a challenge but also an opportunity - the chance to build a better and stronger America. Across the country, leaders are developing exciting solutions to enable successful aging.
With concerns over job creation and business growth holding a prominent - and persistent - position on policy agendas today, governors are increasingly calling on state agencies to support economic growth. It's not just economic and workforce development agencies that governors want on the case. Some governors are including state arts agencies in this all-hands-on-deck approach and are putting in place policies and programs using arts, culture, and design as a means to enhance economic growth.
Terms such as "creative economy," "creative class," and "cultural economy" are becoming more common among urban planners, arts administrators, economic developers, and business and municipal leaders. These terms reference a variety of types of jobs, people, and industries, including the sectors of visual, performing, and literary arts, as well as applied fields like architecture, graphic design, and marketing. Whatever label is used, this use of terminology linking culture and the economy indicates recognition of the connections among the fields of planning, economic development, and arts and culture. The activities of the arts and culture sector and local economic vitality are connected in many ways.
Denver's 5 By 5 Project aims to provide Denver Head Start children and families with at least 5 cultural experiences by the age of 5, putting into action their belief that the municipality can and should play a role in improving the "school readiness" of the City's children. The 5 By 5 Project enhances learning for Denver's young children by offering free admission to the city's premier cultural institutions. A central purpose of Denver's 5 By 5 Project is to provide parents with enjoyable and fulfilling experiences as first teachers of their young children and increase family engagement.