The Cultural Center will draw people from all over Northwest Ohio and beyond. People come here to work, but choose to live in Bowling Green, or Perrysburg where they feel there is more social life. We must draw people to our community to live, work, and play.
Shellee Murcko, CCHC Board Member
You need arts in rural America so that the next generation wants to come there and live. If you do not build vibrant, inclusive, diverse places for young people, they’re not going to raise their families there. They’re simply not. And those communities will wither away.
Charles Fluharty, president and CEO of the Rural Policy Research Institute
There's a different story emerging across America that offers solutions and hope. It's a story of rural vibrancy, economic opportunity and community resilience catalyzed by a uniquely potent asset: the creative sector.
Scott D. Pattison, executive director and CEO of the National Governors Association
In nearly half of the country’s rural counties, more people have moved out than have moved in during every decade since the 1950s. Can the arts save rural America? I would never call it a panacea, but it’s another strategy that we have in our toolkit.
Bob Reeder, program director of Rural LISC
Take a moment to browse the document that shares examples of what other communities are doing and how dramatically the local economy and quality-of-life improves with rural creative sectors.
The following are excerpts from a post by Randy Cohen and include details every resident of Henry County Ohio will find helpful to understand. A link with full article follows.
The Rebuilding Power of The Arts in Rural Communities
Not only are the arts big business, but they are a proven rural economic development tool. Research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that in rural counties, the number of innovation companies—those that use design services or trademark and copyright-protected branding—rises proportionately to the presence of local performing arts organizations. As few as four performing arts organizations in a rural county significantly increase rural innovation businesses scores. Two-thirds of rural business leaders report that arts and entertainment are vital to attracting and retaining workers, providing the talent that businesses need to thrive. Residents of these arts-rich rural communities earn higher incomes (up to $6,000 higher) than residents of rural counties that lack performing arts institutions.
For all the benefits that the arts provide, the sector is one of the most severely affected segments of the nation’s economy. Research by Americans for the Arts on the human and financial impacts of the pandemic show that 63% of the nation’s artists and creative workers have become fully unemployed and virtually every nonprofit arts organization has had to cancel events—a loss of $13.1 billion and 355 million admissions. 10% of organizations now doubt their ability to survive the pandemic.
A new study by the Brookings Institution reports that the “fine and performing arts” (both nonprofit and commercial) have incurred losses of $42.5 billion and 1.4 million jobs—a whopping 50% of all fine and performing arts jobs.
Clearly this is a distressing time for the country with more uncertainty ahead. When the crisis does end, however, the arts can provide the economic and social cohesion benefits needed to recover from the pandemic.
The arts are kindling for the economy—small investments that deliver big returns. They get people out of their homes and spending money in the community. Every visit to an arts event generates $31.47 per person beyond the ticket cost in spending on meals, retail, parking, and lodging. This provides vital income to local merchants, energizes the downtown, and puts people to work.
The arts also provide shared experiences in public spaces—a community connection that heals the loneliness caused by isolation and social distancing.
The coronavirus toll is heavy, but the arts can be our greatest asset in recovering from the crisis socially and economically. Doing everything in our power to bolster the arts now will make our rural communities and states stronger later.
72% of Americans believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity.”