818 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, Va. 22203 dance@bmdc.org 703-910-5175

Why the Arts Matter


You know that the arts bring people joy and can provide a wonderful form of entertainment, but did you know that the arts build community and strengthen the economy? Learn more by reading Virginians for the Arts Report, The Arts: Business for Virginia.

“When Arlington places art near business the result is more spending. The combination creates jobs and tax dollars for the County and a better quality of life for all.”
– John Seal, Arlington Commission for the Arts


Arts organizations are small businesses. Small businesses account for approximately 75% of new job growth in the Commonwealth. In addition to direct staff, arts organizations also employ accountants, construction workers, plumbers, etc., and generate businesses that serve cultural tourism (e.g. restaurants/hotels/parking).


Art museums, music, theater, dance venues and festivals are a core component of Virginia tourism, attracting visitors from far and wide whose spending (in the form of meals, hotels, gifts, taxes, etc.) leads to increased revenue for the community.


According to a 2009 National Governors’ Association report, arts and culture can play a major role in community development and redevelopment by creating new jobs, as well as fostering an environment and amenities that attract talented young workers.


In many Virginia communities, arts organizations catalyze community investment and growth by renovating vacant, run-down buildings to serve as performance spaces, which then spur the growth of additional patron services, such as restaurants, hotels and gift shops.


Art studies are important in developing the creativity needed for a workforce that can compete in a global economy. Eighty-five percent of surveyed business executives indicated that they are currently having difficulty recruiting individuals who possess creative ability; and the demand for creative people will increase as U.S. firms pursue innovation. Other countries, including Britain and China, have already recognized the urgency and instituted widespread educational reforms emphasizing creativity throughout the curricula. Students with an arts rich education have better grade point averages, score better on standardized tests in reading and math, and have lower dropout rates.


We recognize the intrinsic value of the arts and its ability to bring joy, enrichment, and inspiration to the community. Read the analysis conducted by the Arlington Commission for the Arts.

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