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Fey: Why invest in arts and culture in Berwyn

Community Voice

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 1:53 p.m. CST
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Jon Fey is a founding board member of the Berwyn Arts Council.

The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They inspire us, fostering creativity, goodness and beauty. The arts help us express our values, build bridges between cultures and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion or age.  

Researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, better child development and lower poverty rates. A vibrant arts community ensures young people are not left to be raised solely on a pop culture and tabloid marketplace. 

Students with an education rich in the arts have higher grade point averages and standardized test scores, lower drop-out rates and better attitudes about community service. Students with four years of arts or music in high school average 100 points better on their SAT scores than students with 1.5 years or less of arts training.

Also, if one of the purposes of education is to prepare our children for a productive career, the creativity training that comes with arts education is one of the top five applied skills sought by business leaders – 72 percent say creativity is of the highest importance when hiring.

The business of art and culture provides employment, community sales and government revenue. Art produced locally often is sold, viewed or experienced by people from outside the community. These visitors bring in new revenue and return to their communities with positive tales of unexpected charm and creativity.

Art events draw local attendees that spend an average of $25 a person per event on things such as meals, parking and services. Attendees from outside the community tend to spend over twice as much, bringing valuable revenue for the local economy.

The community with a vibrant arts and culture reputation likely is to be a destination where visitors will continue to spend time and money.

Be a part of Berwyn’s arts and culture. Be a patron, a participant or just enjoy the experience.

Jon Fey is a founding board member of the Berwyn Arts Council

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