News / Arts & Entertainment

Money Invested in Arts Shows a Return

The arts can be a great driver of economic development

Multimedia

Susan Logue

Even in a recession, communities across the United States are discovering that money invested in the arts can provide a return.  

That's the case in Rosslyn, Virginia, just a few miles from the nation's capital. Live music draws at least a few people out of their air-conditioned offices on an exceptionally hot day.

The free lunchtime concerts are funded by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID). Its  members are property owners that rent out space in the high-rise office buildings here. 

“It is really important to tenants coming into a commercial office area to have amenities that their workers are going to gravitate to,” says Cecilia Cassidy, executive director of BID.

Artisphere, another amenity for workers in Rosslyn, opened last October. The BID provided $1.2 million to transform what was once the Newseum into an art space that has a little bit of everything.

Artisphere, in Rosslyn, Virginia, offers art displays and workshops where participants create their own art.
Artisphere, in Rosslyn, Virginia, offers art displays and workshops where participants create their own art.

“We have the visual arts, performing arts, spoken word, dance," says Jose Ortiz, executive director of Artisphere. "The audience varies because we have such a great range of programming.”

And art in unexpected places. Some works invite people to do more than just look. There are also workshops where participants create their own art. Many of the offerings are free.

Putting money into Artisphere was a good investment for Rosslyn property owners, and not only to satisfy workers, according to Jason Schupbach of the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Companies want to go where the people are and the arts are something that tie people to place," says Schupbach. "They actually have been shown to be great economic development drivers.”

Hyattsville, Maryland is banking on that. The Washington suburb was blighted for years, but it's beginning to show signs of life, especially in the area known as the Arts District.

Artist Carl Tucker at work in an apartment specifically tailored for artists in Hyattsville, Maryland.
Artist Carl Tucker at work in an apartment specifically tailored for artists in Hyattsville, Maryland.

What was once about 50 hectares of empty parking lot is now being developed, despite the economic downturn. New townhouses and retail spaces are being built along with apartments designed for artists.

"They have space for musicians and they have space for people who want to draw and paint downstairs, dancers who do performing arts," says Carl Tucker, a Hyattsville resident who is an artist.

“It was pretty barren before this particular building and other condos in the area were built," says Candis Jones, a recent drama graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts in New York. "I am sure with time there will be more amenities and theater spaces hopefully."

A  performing arts space is already in the works.  The oldest building in Hyattsville is being transformed into a theater. Seven dollars of new investment comes from every dollar publicly invested in the arts, according to Stuart Eisenberg, executive director of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to the city's revival. But there's an even greater benefit.

“Not only does it do good for the economy and get pretty, shiny new buildings, but in the long run it transforms peoples’ reality," says Eisenberg. "And that is how you develop a community from stagnant or blighted into something that is an example and a leader for investment.”

And, as the community attracts more development, Eisenberg says there will always be affordable housing for artists because they are the heart of the community.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Leyla McCalla takes up not only the guitar, but the banjo and cello to perform songs from her new disc, “A Tribute to Langston Hughes,” music that mixes the Creole rhythms of Haiti with the French Quarter flavor of New Orleans on this edition of "The Hamilton Live."