Building an artistic community is important for the growth of a city; the research on this is substantial, and in Spokane, many people are building a vibrant arts scene. From Terrain to Get Lit to Spark, Spokane has a base of enterprises to enrich over the next few years.
Many of these initiatives are driven by young people who have come here (or returned) because they sense the emerging creative energy. Attracting this demographic is important for the well-being of our city; it’s also important to emphasize, though, that the impact of the arts is economic, a conclusion reached by a 2011 study: “By demonstrating that investing in the arts and culture yields economic benefits, this study lays to rest the common misconception that communities support the arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. … The arts mean business (‘Arts and Economic Prosperity’).”
Cities that value the arts are cities where people want to live. Committing $250,000 of already expected revenue to the arts is a great gesture in support of the imagination, a word used infrequently to describe our city and its initiatives. Further, such a commitment would show that we live in a place open to challenging dialogue and new visions (the best things that the arts can bring): simply, that Spokane is a place where creativity is part of who we are.
Tod Marshall, Washington State Poet Laureate