Why the Arts & Humanities are Vital to the Future and Culture of America

Let’s get one thing straight: we need the Arts.

“We” is a relative term that can include your family, your community, or your workplace. It encompasses a group of people with an applicable label of your choosing. In this case, “we” expands past your town, your region, and even your state. “We” is referencing the entire United States of America currently and going forward. And here’s why we need the Arts, and why your support is crucial now more than ever.

In June, we posted “Ten Ways Supporting the Arts Can Improve Your Community, to increase awareness of the impact of the arts in the Greater Hartford region. We highlighted region-specific examples of the nearly 150 arts and heritage organizations the Arts Council funds. With the help of Americans for the Arts, we were able to take a look at the broader scope of public opinions regarding the arts and humanities.

  1. The Arts Unify Us.

67% of Americans believe that “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity” and 62% of Americans believe that the arts help them understand other cultures better.  In the wake of an election leaving Americans more divided than ever before in our lifetimes, there is no better time to support unity. This is not a direct order to change your beliefs, but instead, be united by art (hence the title of GHAC’s United Arts Campaign). Consider other cultures, heritages, traditions and utilize the arts to do so.

  1. Arts Institutions Add Value to Our Communities.

87% of Americans believe arts and cultural organizations are important to quality of life, and 82% believe they are important to local businesses and the economy. The arts industry in the Greater Hartford region generates more than $230 million in economic activity and supports over 7,000 local jobs. Take that number and consider the possibilities if you continually support and financially enrich the arts and humanities.

  1. The Arts Provide Meaning to Our Lives.

73% of Americans say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world”. The Greater Hartford Arts Council provides area teens the opportunity to gain arts education and career-skills training every summer through our apprenticeship program, Neighborhood Studios. In a society constantly telling them careers in the arts aren’t practical, we give them the tools to succeed. We support some of your favorite arts and cultural organizations such as the Wadsworth Atheneum, Theaterworks, and the Connecticut Historical Society. Is it a family tradition to see the Christmas Carol at the Hartford Stage? Or do you stroll through Elizabeth Park’s rose garden every summer? Do you attend Creative Cocktail Hour at Real Art Ways every month? Each and every one of these positive experiences is shaped by the arts.

  1. The Arts Positively Impact Students.

89% of Americans believe that arts are included in a well-rounded K-12 education. Students with 4 years of arts or music in high school average 100 points better on the verbal and math portions of their SAT’s. Our students and children are our future. While the measurement of one test in concern to a student’s entire academic career is not considered to be as binding as it once was, it is still a test of intellectual capabilities. And the numbers don’t lie.

  1. The Arts Enrich and Inspire our Creativity.

60% of Americans say that participating in arts and music events outside of the home inspire them to be more creative. When only millennials were polled that number jumped to 70%. Creativity can go beyond scrolling through Pinterest for DIY’s (although we encourage that too!), it can be useful in academic settings, workplace settings, and even in relationships. Creativity inspires innovation, provides alternative solutions to difficult situations, and opens your mind and eyes to original ideas.

The positive impact the arts have on us is remarkable. Arts and cultural organizations ensure the growth and strength of our communities by celebrating diversity, revitalizing neighborhoods, turning strangers into neighbors and paving the way for a brighter future. Current affairs threaten the financial stability of the arts and humanities on a national level, but not the integrity. The Arts and Culture sector needs your support in this time of vulnerability: visit our Cultural Calendar and attend an event that peaks your interest, make a financial contribution to our United Arts Campaign, get involved as a volunteer through BVA. Unify together through art, and even when times seem dim, don’t ever give up hope.

Help us make an impact in 2017! Give to our United Arts Campaign to build a stronger arts and cultural community in Greater Hartford.

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