1. The arts in all of its forms fosters true prosperity throughout a community, especially for its people. Theater, music, dance, visual arts, crafts and literature inspire us by fostering creativity, goodness and beauty.
Prescott’s art galleries and theaters, performance and practice spaces, private and public art studios, bookstores and cafes encourage us to look into the souls of others’ creations or explore and expose the depths of our own.
Arts and culture also build bridges between people of different genders, ethnicities and ages. During tough times art can be the salve for everyone’s aches.
2. Arts education improves academic performance. Students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores and lower drop-out rates; benefits reaped by students regardless of socio-economic status.
Arizona Superintendent of Schools Kathy Hoffman has said, “Arts programs are not just nice to have, they are an essential part of a well-rounded education system. Arts education fosters critical thinking skills, improves overall academic performance, and sparks creativity. In short — we need the arts to ensure students realize their full potential.”
3. Arts and culture help support local business. Concerts and performances at venues including Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley and Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, the Elks Theatre and other downtown Prescott venues draw attendees who typically spend money beyond the cost of tickets.
Audiences at nonprofit arts events spend $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking and babysitters. Attendees who come in from outside the county spend twice as much as locals, per person.
4. The arts drive tourism. In 2019, Yavapai County’s total direct travel spending added up to just over $1 billion, and 15% of sales tax revenue was directly tied to travel spending, according to the Arizona Office of Tourism. Further development of venues for art, music and literature could swell those numbers even more.
Tourism is a major component of our region’s economy, and arts and culture can be used to draw new types of visitors here. A 2015 visitor’s survey of City of Prescott visitors done by Northern Arizona University found the three most-frequented cultural or arts venues were the Sharlot Hall museum, Phippen Museum and Smoki Museum (now the Museum of Indigenous People).
5. Arts spark creativity and innovation. The Conference Board, an international group supporting business leadership, reports creativity is among the top five applied skills sought by business leaders — with 72% saying creativity is of high importance when hiring. The biggest creativity indicator? A college arts degree.
As Greater Prescott leaders strive to attract more high-paying jobs to the area, having a workforce prepared to take those positions is equally important. Exposure to arts and culture benefits people of all ages and inspires them to reach new levels of creativity.
6. Arts and culture can improve health care and outcomes. Almost half of the nation’s health care institutions provide arts programming for patients, families and even staff. Of these, 78% deliver this because of the healing benefits — shorter hospital stays, better pain management and less medication.
Supporting the arts locally ensures residents have more exposure to the healing benefits of viewing paintings or sculpture or listening to music. Prescott College has an online Expressive Arts Therapy program about incorporating art therapy into counselling, just one example of the healing power of the arts.
7. The arts mean business. Creative industries are arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies and theaters to for-profit film, architecture and design companies.
There are numerous arts-based companies in Greater Prescott to support, including the numerous art, jewelry and crafts galleries downtown, the Bronzesmith in Prescott Valley and other arts foundries, recording studios, bars and coffee shops hosting live performances, and many others.
Adapted from Americans for the Arts • Photo: Yavapai College Performing Arts Center