“Arts are not just nice to have anymore. They are an absolute necessity.”
That’s what Jill Meyer, CEO and President of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, had to say at the most recent ArtsWave ArtsBreak. Community leaders came to the gathering to learn more about how arts can help to put Cincinnati on the map, attracting young professionals and top talent to the local economy, and deepen community roots, keeping those talented employees here once they arrive.
These two tenets are part of the five goals of the Blueprint for Collective Action for the Arts, the 10-year strategy plan ArtsWave unveiled earlier this fall. The Blueprint is designed to leverage the power of our robust arts sector in the regional effort to build a more vibrant economy and connected community in Greater Cincinnati.
Arts make Cincinnati some place people want to be, said Meyer, who is co-chair of ArtsWave’s 2016 fundraising campaign along with her husband, pianist Awadagin Pratt. The region has an arts community to be proud of, but more work needs to be done to make sure people know about all the programs, shows and opportunities available.
Arts programs make Cincinnati vibrant and fun and cool – all things young professionals say they’re looking for, added Teresa Tanner, executive vice president at Fifth Third. They also can give young professionals a way to connect to the community, to feel pride and ownership in Cincinnati.
It’s not enough, Meyer and Tanner said, for talented people to come to Cincinnati for jobs. The region needs for its top talent to stay here and tell more people why they should be here. They’re more likely to do those things when they feel they have places to go and things to do and see.
People who are engaged in the arts – whether they’re making art, volunteering for an organization or just sitting in the audience – report having a broader, stronger set of connections in the community. This translates to a more positive feeling about Cincinnati: people engaged in the arts are 20 percent more satisfied with the community than average.