Arts and culture do a great deal to add to the vibrancy of a community. They bring a certain quality of life. They also have an economic impact. In 2010, Americans for the Arts commissioned a study to determine how great an asset culture and arts were to our communities. They found that arts-related industries represented over $135 billion in economic activity. It generated over 4.1 million full-time jobs. Local, state, and our federal government received $22.3 billion in revenue from the arts and culture.

In March of 2009, members of Richmond-area businesses, foundations, members of the arts community, and representatives from the city and neighboring counties gathered together to create the “Richmond Region Cultural Action Plan”, and CultureWorks was born.

While CultureWorks spearheaded artoberVA, their work continues year-round.

CultureWorks has a diverse and engaged Board of Directors and a dedicated staff, but they’re forever adding partners and collaborators who act as advocates and stewards for our region’s dynamic arts and culture ecosystem. They find opportunities for both new and existing groups to contribute to this community. They help to facilitate financial support for those struggling to meet needs and be able to create an impact in our cultural vibrancy. They also spend a good deal of time with our elected officials, making sure that they understand the impact of arts and culture on our community.

People around the country recently participated in our local, state, and national elections. In Richmond and the Tri-Cities area, many candidates had a position in their platform to make their district or locality a great place “to live, work, and play.” It should be no small secret that arts and culture make a significant impact on our ability to deliver that, both economically and from a quality-of-life standpoint. Our region offers concerts and recitals, performances of plays and musicals, world-class examples of art and sculpture – and we provide a home for those who create it. Richmond and the Tri-Cities is a great place to live, work, and play.

Making a place great to live, work, and play also contributes to our economic stability. One of the things that CultureWorks has done is to collaborate with Americans for the Arts to determine just how big an economic impact arts and culture have on our part of the United States. This will be a regional update to their national impact study. They’re also forming a series of workshops for arts and culture organizations to help them boost their impact on our residents and become a part of this community of creative builders.

But there’s a way that you – the individual – can get involved. Become a Cultural Shareholder.

If you’re involved in the arts, or just enjoy being a spectator, you are an important part of this community. Becoming a Cultural Shareholder gives you a schedule of upcoming events and last-minute deals, a newsletter with details and stories about what’s going on with the arts and culture, both regionally and nationally, and adds your voice to this growing conversation.

And it’s free!

Every time you attend a show or visit a gallery, you’re making this region better for living, working, and playing. You’re contributing to our local economy, and creating jobs. Most importantly, you’re taking advantage of what our region offers in arts and culture.

Be a bigger part of that.

Posted December 1, 2016 by & filed under 2016.