Show me a culture in the history of civilization that hasn’t embraced the arts as a means of expressing its cultural values; that hasn’t seen the function of beauty as an overall improvement of the experience of life.
Every memorable culture, no matter how limited its resources, invested enormous time and energy to create beautiful structures, craft, music, and performance. Only in the past few decades did our culture abandon these values because the price tag showed no obvious return on investment. Yet, time and time again cities that do invest in the arts experience the benefits in the “money-generating” and even the “money-saving” areas of that spreadsheet. To name just a few well-documented benefits: bolstered tourism, job creation, a diversified economy, and a unique identity for the city in which the arts are able to thrive. The arts improve the overall health of society by creating a stronger community that has a sense of place; they raise the overall level of cultural literacy; they speak to and better the lives of at-risk youth; and they enrich the educational experience. The arts make us happy, which improves our physical and mental health.
Hamilton is a city rich with artists. I have seen the most inspiring performances, musicians, visual art, and community in this city. They have created life on the streets, and woven an enviable art community. Hamilton’s renaissance, I would argue, is thanks to these individuals who spend their days seeking, creating, and sharing beauty in many different forms. I cannot see how anyone can view investment in this city’s richest resource as a waste.
If you see any value in the arts, we would like to invite you to voice your support at Hamilton City Hall on Wednesday, June 18 starting at 9:30am. (click for facebook event) And if you are unable to make it, you can use this graphic to voice your support. You can put it in your windows, on t-shirts, posters, coasters, buttons, stickers, your blog, profile picture, cover photo or any other medium you would like to show that investing in the arts matters to you and to your city.
Research on the economic and social benefits for arts funding: