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Arts & Economic Prosperity

Spending by the nonprofit arts and heritage organizations in Greater Knoxville totaled $30,000,000 each year through: paying employees, purchasing supplies, and contracting for services.

  • The run of one theatre's musical in Knox County generated $731,182 in dining, concessions, tickets, parking, gas, childcare, and more.
  • More people annually visit Knoxville's 20+ museums and historic homes than attend all UT home football games combined.
  • Downtown Knoxville could appropriately be called the city the arts re-built since nearly 20 historic buildings within the Central Business Improvement District have been redeveloped and animated by arts and culture uses.
  • Eighty-six percent of East Tennesseans believe having arts and culture events in their communities make life better.
  • Compared to the national average of 27%, a full 49% of Tennesseans say that arts and culture are important to their lives.

Although Greater Knoxville offers residents diverse, widespread and quality arts opportunities, they come at little public cost. In both Denver and St. Louis, over $15 in public funding is spent on the arts for every one of their residents. In Knox County, less than $2 per resident is dedicated to public funding for the arts.

"Understanding and acknowledging the incredible economic impact of the nonprofit arts, we must always remember the fundamental value of the arts.  They foster beauty, creativity, originality, and vitality.  The arts inspire us, sooth us, provoke us, involve us, and connect us…but they also create jobs and contribute to the economy.  – Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts

Arts & Attracting Talent

Workers with arts-related skills are critical to software development and Web site design companies, advertising firms, the motion picture and broadcast media industries, automobile design companies, architectural and engineering firms and other fields seeking employees with high-level communications, computer and creative problem solving abilities.
- National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

Support of the arts is a workforce issue for companies - the arts develop the kind of thinker and manager that businesses must have more of if they are to remain competitive in the global marketplace. - Arts & Business Quarterly

The arts extend the boundaries of the digital frontier.  Many of the digital imaging techniques that have become common tools in the corporate and scientific worlds were pioneered in the art and design industries. - National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

Involvement with the arts provides employees with networking opportunities, stimulates creative thinking and problem solving, and builds team spirit.
- National Business Committee for the Arts


Arts & Education

89% of adults consider making the arts available to children as very important. School children from the 20 largest metropolitan area school districts encountered only 1.4 outside arts experiences in 2000.

  •  The arts teach kids to be more tolerant and open.
  •  The arts allow kids to express themselves creatively.
  •  The arts promote individuality, bolster self-confidence, and improve overall academic performance.

In 1999, the findings from several major studies were compiled into Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning.

  • The arts reach students who are not otherwise being reached. Researchers found that the arts provided a reason, and sometimes the only reason, for disengaged youth to become engaged with school or other organizations.
  • The arts reach students in untraditional ways. Young people considered classroom failures often became the high achievers in arts-learning settings.
    Success in the arts became a bridge to learning and eventual success in other areas of learning.
  • The arts connect students to themselves and each other. By engaging his or her whole person in creating an artwork, the student feels invested in ways that are deeper than "knowing the answer." Attitudes of young people toward one another also are altered through their arts learning experiences.
  • The arts transform the environment for learning. When the arts become integrated into the learning environment, schools and other settings become places of discovery. The school culture is changed and the conditions for learning are improved.
  • The arts provide learning opportunities for the adults as well as young people. In effective programs, teachers, parents, and other adults become coaches and active facilitators of learning. Young people gain an understanding that learning in any field is a never-ending process, and the dynamics between the young and the less-young learners are altered.
  • The arts provide new challenges for those students already considered successful. Boredom and complacency are barriers to success. For students who outgrow their established learning environments, the arts can offer a chance for unlimited challenge. In some situations, older students may also teach and mentor younger students, providing them additional challenges and opportunities for growth.
  • The arts connect learning experiences to the world of real work. The arts mirror the workplace, where ideas and knowledge matter. The ability to generate ideas, to bring them to life and to communicate them — both in the classroom, in the community and in the workplace — are keys to success.
  • The arts impact students in need of an extra boost. Arts education increases learning and achievement among economically disadvantaged and learning disabled students. Students needing remedial instruction and very young children also benefit greatly from arts education.

Based on an analysis of Department of Education data covering more than 25,000 students over 10 years, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies Professor James. S. Catterall found that sustained involvement in the arts correlates with success in other subjects and in developing positive attitudes about community — both generally and also for children in poverty. Catterall's study used a definition of "involvement in the arts" that gave students credit for taking arts-related classes in or out of school as well as involvement and leadership in school activities such as theater, band, orchestra, chorus, dance, and the visual arts. His research revealed:

  • Involvement in the arts contributes to: higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, more community service and lower drop-out rates.
  • Educational benefits were reaped by students regardless of their socioeconomic status (SES). Other benefits of arts-intensive education curricula included marked differences in television watching habits, with arts-involved youngsters watching considerably less.
  • The relative advantage of involvement in the arts increases appreciably over time. Students involved consistently with the arts at a younger age benefit more than those exposed later in their education.
  • This general pattern of increasing advantages goes beyond test scores. High arts youngsters did comparatively better on multiple measures as they passed from grade 8 to 12.
  • Sustained involvement in particular art forms — music and theater— are highly correlated with success in mathematics and reading.

Beyond classrooms: The arts in after-school programs.  After a decade study, Shirley Brice Heath of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancementof Teaching and Stanford University found that youth in arts programs wereachieving more in both school and their personal lives than those from the same socioeconomiccategories. In fact, students involved in the arts programs were doing evenbetter than those in programs that focused on sports and community involvement.
Compared to the national sample, youths in non-school arts-based programs are:

  • 25% more likely to report feeling satisfied with themselves
  • 31% more likely to say they plan to continue education after High School
  • Eight times more likely to receive a community service award
  • Three times more likely to win an award for school attendance
  • Twice as likely to win an award for academic achievement
  • Four times more likely to participate in a science or math fair
  • 23% more likely to say they can do things as well as most other people
  • 23% more likely to feel they can make plans and work from them
  • More frequent attendees of music, art, and dance classes by a factor of three
  • More frequent participants in youth groups by nearly a factor of four
  • More than twice as likely to read for pleasure

Arts & Tourism

The arts and heritage community helps "save" each Knox County family $313 in taxes each year because of the tax income generated by tourism. As America's favorite tourist attractions, museums ranked third behind shopping and outdoor activities, and historical places and cultural events ranked fourth, ahead of beaches and parks, sports, gambling, nightlife and amusement parks.


Nearly half of adults who traveled in the past year report they attended a performing arts event.  - Travel Industry Assoc. of America


Three in 10 travelers say the destination of their most recent trip was influenced by a specific cultural activity. - Travel Industry Assoc. of America


Arts & Healing

“Patch” Adams, MD, writes in the foreword of Illness and the Art of Creative Self-Expression (New Harbinger Publications, 2000), a book by John Graham-Pole, MD:
“Invite artists to pass through the front doors of every healthcare facility to do their work of healing. …Creativity is great medicine for all. …It prevents disease and promotes wellness.”


From the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management:
Art therapy is touted for treating the whole person. And as the medical field comes to understand the mind-body connection and its healing power, Lupo says, the art therapist will be viewed as a necessary component of the medical team to effect healing.


From the Washington Post.Com 8/17/04:
Studies indicate, for example, that aesthetically pleasing environments shorten recovery time and hospital stays; creating art reduces anxiety in patients with cancer; creative writing eases the symptoms of asthma and arthritis; and music lowers stress levels.