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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."