Columbus Symphony conductor George Del Gobbo listed the reasons that “the arts” are so important for a community’s well-being when speaking to the Rotary Club of Columbus. He got specific and told how they are benefiting Columbus. It’s gratifying to note that he didn’t confine the reasons to economic benefits. In fact, he led his list of seven reasons the arts should be supported with how they affect our humanity.
He said the arts help us express our values, help us heal when we are difficulty, allow us to express “the essence of what it is to be human. When you hear a symphony by Beethoven, look at a statue by Michelangelo, or a painting by Van Gogh, or read a sentence by Shakespeare, you are being touched, you are communicating with the most sublime human spirits who ever lived.”
He went on to tell us how arts build stronger communities, lead to more social cohesion, increased child welfare, and lower poverty rates. “A vibrant arts community ensures that young people are not to be raised in a pop culture or a tabloid market place.”
The arts even improve your health. They have healing benefits, resulting in “shorter hospital stays, better pain management, and less medication.”
They help prepare the workforce. “We are told that creativity is among the top skills sought out by employers.’
“The arts lead to improved academic performance in the schools. Numerous studies have shown that students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, lower dropout rates, and even better attitudes about community service.” However, he goes on to say, Rand Corporation research shows that the arts have been systematically cut from the public school curriculum.”
See what happens when you elect a bunch of dumb-ass Neanderthals to school boards. He didn’t say that. I did.
He did get around to the economic benefits of a “creative industry.”
Dun and Bradstreet reported in 2011 that almost 800,000 businesses in the United States were involved in the creation or distribution of arts. In Columbus “the Arts and Culture industry supports over 1000 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs. ” They generate a payroll of more than 13 million dollars. The arts community in Columbus has an economic impact of over 50 million dollars per year.
Finally, he points out that the arts are good for tourism. They are ideal tourists, staying longer, spending more.
He makes a very strong case for the positive effects of practicing and being exposed to the arts. He didn’t have to sell me. My life has been enriched by the arts for a very long time, and we are so fortunate to have a vibrant arts culture in Columbus. The opportunity to attend numerous outstanding live musical and theatrical events, as well as outstanding museums, is here.
However, one has to be exposed to the arts to learn to appreciate them. Communities with schools that provide early exposure so that all children, not just those who are fortunate enough to be born to arts-loving parents, are on the right track.