In the film “Dead Poet’s Society”, John Keating summons his students—and in a hushed voice, he shares a secret: “We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Poetry, beauty, romance and love—this is what we stay alive for.”  Without a doubt, human beings have a deep-seated need to express an array of emotions—happiness, passion, grief, and hope. Art is the color, the shape, and the tune that translate these emotions into form.

From these expressions of art, a soul is elevated from a place of grief and despair to a place of hope and courage. The result oftentimes is a better person who contributes to creating a healthier community. In turn, a healthy community contributes to a strong nation—and a strong nation to a better world.

Far from being lofty, art and its impact on society stand on solid ground.

How the Arts Impact Communities

When arts and culture interweave in the fabric of a community, it helps cities attract tourists, diverse talent, brings about innovation and grows the economy. From citizens, individual artists, cultural organizations to businesses and government leadership—everybody in the ecosystem benefits from the arts. (This fact actually is one reason why there are non-profit organizations like Tessitura Network that provide excellent systems that help innovate, reimagine and transform the arts and cultural sphere toward success).

  • Individuals can benefit from art on both physiological and psychological levels. With art as a form of expression and release, instances of depression and stress are significantly reduced. Moreover, exposure to creative endeavors makes people more open and tolerant of other people’s views and opinions. Likewise, the interactions and social bonds made through art can help increase the community’s social capital.
  • Arts attract tourists and also different types of creative talent. This is extremely important in creating diversity and can directly be linked to more entrepreneurs and start-ups.
  • A thriving art district in a community serves as that community’s cultural hub. It helps preserve the region’s cultural heritage and identity by making it accessible to the locals and tourists alike. The vitality of art districts also encourages the youth to pursue creative endeavors.
  • Art and its impact on society are unique—it is localized and can almost be instantly felt. As art districts sit as the epicenter of cultural and artistic movements, related industries such as fashion and design, marketing and advertising, handicrafts and even food industries get an economic boost. The influx of tourists and arts patrons in the area generates more jobs and increases economic activities.

    In some states, art-related industries have been found to contribute significantly to the state’s economy. On a national level, according to the new data shared by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the arts contributed a total of $763.6 billion to the country’s economy.

Art Districts and Creative Communities Making Bold Impacts

As city planners and decision-makers recognize the role of art and its impact on society, art districts and creative communities slowly emerge across the globe. Bold Business looked at art districts that had the largest impact on their communities. We compiled a list 10 art districts across the globe that we feel have demonstrated the largest impact on their communities and their economic growth.

Art and its Impact on Society—Not Just for Art’s Sake

Indeed, through arts and the establishment of art districts, cities can create space where members of the community can interact and tap the power of celebrating art to foster a cooperative spirit. Through these interactions, communities can grow the area’s social capital. A rich social capital makes it easier to involve the community in preserving and protecting the environment and push the implementation of government agendas—thus, helping pave the way to truly demonstrate how the arts impact communities.

Certainly, art and its impact on society play a significant role in civic participation. As citizens are converted into volunteers from just mere spectators, civic participation comes out naturally. Likewise, art can be a powerful tool to nurture and develop the community’s youth. By harnessing the energy and creativity of the youth to constructive endeavors, arts and arts districts can create a cycle that will ensure how the arts impact communities today will continue in the future.

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